Monday 19 February 2018

Retirement not on cards, says Dettori

JA McGrath

Frankie Dettori last night strenuously denied rumours that he was about to retire.

"I have one ride at Brighton, and then I will be going to Sandown. It is my usual routine," he stated.

Dettori (41) has been passed over for Godolphin's runner Kailani in tomorrow's Epsom Oaks, with 20-year-old Mickael Barzalona being preferred for the Classic. The jockey booking was seen as confirmation in the racing world that Dettori was no longer automatic No 1 choice with Godolphin. He has been the royal blues' first jockey for nearly two decades and has ridden most of their celebrated winners in that period.

Last night Dettori said: "I have no plans to retire. I am still young for a top jockey and I have many good years ahead of me. I will back myself to beat anybody. Let's get to Royal Ascot and see what happens."

Dettori also disclosed he had been approached by Ballydoyle to ride one of their six runners in the Oaks. "I cannot be riding too badly if I get a phone call like that," he said.

Aidan O'Brien is determined to regain his stranglehold on the Classics after the final declarations for tomorrow's Epsom Oaks saw him left with nearly half the 14 runners. The champion trainer suffered his first reversal in the season's three-year-old Group One races when Samitar triumphed in Sunday's Irish 1,000 Guineas, but Maybe, Kissed, Devotion, Betterbetterbetter, Twirl and Was all have a chance to make it four out of five at Epsom.

Maybe, third in the 1,000 Guineas, is vying for favouritism at a best-priced 3/1 for the mile-and-a-half fillies' showpiece with the John Gosden-trained The Fugue. Maybe will again be ridden by the trainer's son, Joseph. Kissed is due to be partnered by Ryan Moore, though her participation is in some doubt following a tweet by O'Brien's wife Anne Marie stating that she would run only "if there is ease in the ground".

The going is currently good, good to firm in places, with watering taking to place to keep it that way.

Johnny Murtagh has been booked to ride impressive Lingfield trial winner Vow (5/1) for William Haggas.

Late last night, Ballydoyle also revealed Camelot and Astrology were both certain to run in the Derby on Saturday, but a decision on Imperial Monarch will not be taken until today.

Decisions on whether Tower Rock and Father Of Science take their place have also been delayed until today. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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