x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Frankie Dettori told to fall in line with new whip law

If rider breaks new whip law, he will get no support from Godolphin.

Frankie Dettori, right, on Blue Bunting, beats Vita Nova, ridden by Tom Queally, in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. The Italian, who rides for Godolphin, has been told to adhere to the new whip law, while the decision on whether Vita Nova will race will be made today.
Frankie Dettori, right, on Blue Bunting, beats Vita Nova, ridden by Tom Queally, in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. The Italian, who rides for Godolphin, has been told to adhere to the new whip law, while the decision on whether Vita Nova will race will be made today.

LONDON // Godolphin will not countenance any failings by Frankie Dettori to adhere to the new whip rules at the inaugural British Champions Day meeting on Saturday.

The Italian jockey said this week that he feared contravening the stringent laws that were imposed in England on Monday that restrict a jockey on the flat to seven hits per race.

Dettori outlined his concern as his first ride at the meeting, Opinion Poll in the Long Distance Cup, is a "tremendously lazy" mount.

Earlier in the season, he hit Rewilding 24 times during the duel up Ascot's straight with So You Think when winning the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at the Royal Meeting.

He was banned for nine days and it is understood that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is a keen supporter of the new law.

"Frankie is big enough and sensible enough to know that he won't be breaking the rules on Saturday," Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said in an interview in today's Times. "I know it has happened before but that was under a different regime, when breaches were more common.

"With the new whip rules in place we are absolutely clear that they should not be broken. This is our shop-window meeting and everyone would be very disappointed if any jockey disobeyed the rules.

"Frankie certainly mustn't do it and he knows that. If it happens he will have to suffer the consequences by himself. He'd get absolutely no support from us."

Opinion Poll is Godolphin's main hope at the meeting although Crisford was also bullish this week at the prospects of Dubai Prince in the Champion Stakes. Both are trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, who has trained 67 winners in Britain this season compared to the 44 of Godolphin's long-standing trainer, Saeed bin Suroor.

Bin Suroor, who was the champion trainer at the Dubai Carnival for the fourth time in 2011, has registered only one winner at the highest level this year. Campanologist won the Group 1 Preis Von Europa at Cologne last month, and added to Khawlah's success in the Group 2 UAE Derby and Skysurfers in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile, both on Dubai World Cup night. They are the only big races that the 42-year-old can boast of this year.

In contrast, Al Zarooni's star has risen through the performances of flagship horses such as Rewilding and Blue Bunting this season.

Not only are the older horses flourishing under his care, but also the two year olds are progressing also. Discourse, Falls Of Lora and Gamilati all feature among the entries for next year's English 1000 Guineas as does Lyric of Light after her victory in the Group 1 Fillies Mile three weeks ago. It indicates the future is bright for Al Zarooni, who is eight years younger than bin Suroor, whose juveniles have been below par this campaign.

"There is no question of Saeed being marginalised," Crisford said. "Look at his career record - 165 Group 1 winners and a 23 per cent strike rate around the world. This is a game of peaks and troughs.

"Mahmood has done very well while Saeed's two year olds have not been good enough which means he will probably struggle next year, too."

Vita Nova is put through workout

A decision will be made today as to whether Vita Nova achieves her season-long goal of running in the Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The four-year-old, owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa, suffered a hiccup that threatened to rule her out of the Group 2 contest, but a workout on Saturday encouraged connections to leave her in the five-day declarations. A final decision will be made today when the declarations are made.

“Her last work was good to prepare her for the Champions Day race which has been her target for the season,” Salem Al Ketbi, Sheikh Sultan’s racing manager, said.

The filly, who will be ridden by Tom Queally, finished second to Ferdoos in a Listed race on her second start of the season at Haydock, before she was also the runner-up behind Gertrude Bell in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks and Blue Bunting in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks. Ferdoos, owned by Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid, and Gertrude Bell could both reoppose in the 12-furlong race.

Vita Nova went lame after injuring herself but an X-ray revealed it was a minor setback. For a big filly, the daughter of Galileo has been slow to come to hand and has raced only six times.

Although Sir Henry Cecil, the trainer, has suggested that Saturday’s race would be her last of the year Al Ketbi indicated that the lucrative international programme may be within her compass.

“We have no plans yet to an autumn campaign, a decision will be made later next week. She will remain in training for next season,” he said.

An obvious aim would be the Queen Elizabeth Commemorative Cup in Japan which was won last year by Snow Fairy. A total of 17 foreign horses were nominated for the November 13 race last week.

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