x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dettori loses hands down at Epsom

A ten-day suspension for the Italian rules out Delegator ride in the Golden Jubilee and the Irish Derby.

Dancing Rain, (foreground) ridden by jockey Johnny Murtagh, crosses the line in first place to win The Investec Oaks race.
Dancing Rain, (foreground) ridden by jockey Johnny Murtagh, crosses the line in first place to win The Investec Oaks race.

EPSOM, England // Frankie Dettori will miss the last two days of Royal Ascot, including the highly-prized ride on Delegator in the Golden Jubilee Stakes, after being found guilty of failing to ride out the finish aboard Blue Bunting in the Oaks at Epsom yesterday.

Dettori looked to be involved in a tussle for third with Izzi Top in the final stages of the 2,400m Classic when in the shadow of the winning post he lowered his hands in expectation that his mount had secured a place on the podium.

The move allowed William Buick and Izzi Top to rally and take third, behind Wonder Of Wonders, trained by Aidan O'Brien, and Dancing Rain, the surprising winner ridden by Johnny Murtagh.

In a statement, the Epsom stewards said: "Having seen the evidence, the stewards have found Frankie Dettori guilty of failing to ride out his horse to the finish."

He was suspended for 10 days, from June 17 to June 27.

The suspension rules out the Italian for the ride on Genius Beast, Ocean War, Casamento, Grand Vent or Shooting Gallery, who are all entered in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 17.

More notably, however, he will not be in the saddle the following day for Delegator's tilt at the Group 1 Golden Jubilee, the first British leg of the Global Sprint Challenge. He will also miss the Irish Derby the following week for which Godolphin have similar entries to the King Edward.

Dettori's performance capped a frustrating race for Godolphin. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as his wife, Princess Haya, were present but the mounting expectation behind Blue Bunting's run was popped by halfway.

Murtagh grabbed the lead as he left the stalls, a position he did not relinquish, and the uneven pace he set had most of his rivals toiling as they came around the horseshoe of Tattenham Corner.

Dettori made his move from seventh alongside Ryan Moore on Havant once the field had lined up in the straight, but he could not catch Dancing Rain nor Wonder Of Wonders, who had already flown.

"She did not like the stop-start pace," said Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager. "She did not like the course, she did not like the track. There will be other days and other races. Perhaps that will be the Irish Oaks."

Mahmood al Zarooni's stable has overshadowed that of Saeed bin Suroor's in Britain this season, but there was better luck for bin Suroor earlier in the day when Antara took the opening race.

Last year bin Suroor started off the British flat-turf season slowly before accelerating to record one of his best campaigns since he took over in 1995. The catalyst to that success was Antara's victory in the Princess Elizabeth's Stakes, which she won for a second year under Dettori yesterday.

Before the success, bin Suroor had won just four races since landing in England in April, but if the stable has been slow to start this year Antara was not aware of any problems as she stormed to a three-quarter length victory in the Group 3 contest.

"She has a good turn of foot over a mile [1,600m] and when Frankie asked her, she finished off the race really well," bin Suroor said.

The Emirati handler ruled out a trip to Royal Ascot for the filly, who went there 12 months ago when she finished third to Strawberrydaiqiri in the Windsor Forest Stakes. Instead he hoped Antara would go on to bigger and better things.

"She runs her best races when fresh. We will give her time," he said. "She is much better than last year and is much stronger. We hope to put her in a Group 1 race later in the season."