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Godolphin announce death of Balanchine, aged 30

Balanchine, who provided a historic first Classic win for both Godolphin and Frankie Dettori, has died at the age of 30.

The 1994 Oaks winner was a pathfinder for the great Italian jockey and Sheikh Mohammed’s then nascent Godolphin operation – becoming the first of many to be trained over the winter in Dubai en route to major success in Britain.

Godolphin announced the death of their dual Classic heroine on Friday, following a long retirement at Gainsborough Farm in Kentucky.

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Balanchine was trained by Hilal Ibrahim to win both the Oaks and then the Irish Derby at the Curragh, in the space of little more than three weeks.

Dettori was aboard on each occasion, having already finished a short-head second to Las Meninas in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket when he partnered the filly for the first time at the start of her three-year-old season.

Balanchine had won both her juvenile races with ease for owner-breeder Robert Sangster, before being bought by Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum and sent to be trained in Dubai en route to her Classic campaign.

Her historic Epsom victory came on rain-softened ground, by two and a half lengths from Wind In Her Hair – the third of four successes in eight career starts.

Dettori, just 23 at the time, later reflected on the significance for both him and Godolphin of her achievements at Epsom and the Curragh.

In an interview with Horse Racing Ireland in 2019, he said: “I was over the moon after I’d won my first Classic on her at Epsom – and I thought the next step would be the Irish Oaks.

“But Sheikh Maktoum and Sheikh Mohammed were never short of a challenge and they decided to race against the colts in the Irish Derby.

“I thought ‘God, this may be a step too far’. Obviously, I was proven wrong – because she won.”

Balanchine took charge with half-a-mile still to travel at the Curragh and easily beat Sheikh Mohammed’s King’s Theatre into second.

Dettori added: “It was my only Irish Derby win, and I was only 23, so I was ecstatic and delighted, and it was a massive feat for a filly. She was a one-off.

“It was a bold call to make a run against the colts – and that was, I guess, the stepping stone for what Godolphin is now…she was the start.”

Bedouin’s steps up for Zabeel Mile challenge

Frankie Dettori is back aboard Bedouin’s Story as he steps up in class for the Zabeel Mile following his last-gasp win in a handicap at Meydan three weeks ago.

The Italian was seen at his very best on the six-year-old, who had been off the track for well over a year.

Having entered the home straight almost last in the 16-runner affair, Dettori timed it to perfection, winning by a nose.

“He was too far back in the race, but we had Frankie on who gave him a good ride,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

“Luckily, he got a clear run all the way and he got there.

“This time he is in a better race – it’s a Group Two, so it’s a big step up for him.

“We’ll give him a chance at this level and see how he gets on, he’s already had a run so he’s fit.

“I don’t think so much he needs a big field, usually at the Carnival they are good races, strongly run, and that suits him.”

Dettori’s mount is likely to have most to fear from Charlie Appleby’s duo of Art Du Val and D’bai. Appleby also runs Velorum.

D’bai seen in winning action at Haydock last summer
D’bai seen in winning action at Haydock last summer (Steve Davies/PA)

Appleby said: “D’Bai ran a very good race in the Al Fahidi Fort and the return to 1600 metres (a mile) is not a concern as he won over the trip as a young horse. We think the trip will suit him at this stage of his career.

“The 1800m (nine furlongs) looked slightly too far for Art Du Val in the Singspiel, so the drop back 200m should be in his favour.

“Velorum needed the comeback run in the Al Fahidi Fort and has improved from it. We think he can be competitive at this level.”

The Group Two Balanchine sees Appleby’s Althiqa and Summer Romance take on Bin Suroor’s Dubai Love and Last Look, with the Roger Varian-trained Stylistique also in the mix.

A’Ali, Caspian Prince, Equilateral, Lazuli, Waady and Nigel Tinkler’s Acklam Express face off in a fascinating Meydan Sprint.

Dettori booked for Prince Of Arran in Saudi Arabia

Frankie Dettori will ride Prince Of Arran for the first time in the Red Sea Turf Handicap in Riyadh next weekend.

The $2.5million contest at the Saudi Cup meeting is the latest adventure for the Charlie Fellowes-trained Prince Of Arran, who has been an outstanding servant to his connections in races all around the world.

He has been placed in the last three Melbourne Cups and looked in good heart when finishing a close third on his reappearance at Kempton earlier this month.

Frankie Dettori has some big rides coming up in Saudi Arabia
Frankie Dettori has some big rides coming up in Saudi Arabia (David Davies/PA)

Fellowes told ITV Racing: “He’s in good nick and I’m looking forward to seeing him out there, hopefully the journey goes well.

“We’ve got Frankie up, which will be interesting. He’s never ridden him before, but you couldn’t have a better jockey in the plate.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

Mouheeb swoops late in UAE 2000 Guineas

Mouheeb provided jockey Ryan Curatolo with his first winner at Meydan in the UAE 2000 Guineas.

Just touched off in the trial by Charlie Appleby’s Rebel’s Romance, who is now heading to the big meeting in Saudi Arabia, Mouheeb got up close home to deny the brave front-runner Meshakel, formerly trained by Mark Johnston.

Mouheeb may also make the short trip to Saudi next – but should that race come too soon, he is likely to be a warm order in the UAE Derby.

French trainer Nicholas Bachalard, who won the UAE 1000 Guineas with Nashmiah in 2017, said the decision will rest with owner Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum.

“We didn’t think the pace would be that strong and (thought) that he would sit closer to the pace,” said Bachalard.

“Thankfully the horse ran Meshakel down at the right time, and I’m delighted. Hopefully he’s paid back some of the trust the owner has put in us.

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“We have a few choices now, straight to the UAE Derby, or he still holds a nomination for the Saudi Derby – which is only 16 days away. It depends on what Sheikh Ahmed wants to do.

“I’m very pleased for Ryan – since he came to the stable, he’s been nothing but positive.”

It has not taken Saeed bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori long to slip back into the old routine of regularly winning races together since they resumed their partnership.

Riding Dubai Future in the Meydan Cup, the Italian came out well on top in a race dominated by Godolphin runners – with the first five sporting all blue.

Riding his fifth winner of the Carnival already, Dettori said: “Obviously he ran a good race last time (second). I wasn’t sure who to follow, so I gave myself plenty of options, got him on the outside.

“He was a true professional – he’s got a very good mind on him for a racehorse.”

Secret Ambition won the Group Three Firebreak Stakes at the third time of asking, having finished second in the last two renewals.

The eight-year-old pulled well clear close home under Tadhg O’Shea for Satish Seemar – but the race was marred by an injury to the favourite Matterhorn, who had been well fancied for the World Cup.

O’Shea said: “He’s danced every dance, but a lot of credit goes to Shane Ryan and his team who have done a lot of work with him.

“He probably would have won more races if he was more tractable away from the gate, but he tends to miss it a lot.

“Shane and his crew have done a lot of work with him, along with Satish and his team. It’s all coming together now.

“We might stretch out in trip, and if he doesn’t he’ll be rock solid in the Godolphin Mile.”

Dettori and Bin Suroor had to settle for the runner-up spot with Final Song in the Listed Dubai Sprint – but there was still another Godolphin winner on the card as William Buick prevailed by three lengths on Appleby’s Man Of Promise.

After the gelding’s second victory on his fourth career start, and first at Meydan, Buick said: “He’s a lovely, neat horse.

“He showed a little bit more speed than what I expected today.

“He travelled beautifully, and had a little look around in front, but it was a nice performance – and he can only go on from here.”

Soft Whisper far too good for UAE Guineas rivals

Saeed bin Suroor won the UAE 1000 Guineas for the 12th time as Soft Whisper fairly bolted up at Meydan.

Ridden with extreme confidence by Frankie Dettori, the Sea The Stars filly was even more impressive on this occasion than in the trial three weeks ago.

Content to get a lead until just before the turn into the straight, as soon as Dettori gave his mount an inch of rein, she cruised into the field and pulled further and further clear to win by seven lengths.

Dettori said: “She missed the kick last time, but jumped really good today. I was always in position A and in control.

“When I kicked, she went, it was as simple as that really. I didn’t have to do much and she’s got a bright future.

“Saeed has mentioned everything – Saudi, the UAE Oaks, the UAE Derby – when they win so impressively you can get excited.

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“I just said to Saeed, the last time I won on one as easy as that was probably Dubai Millennium, so it only took me 21 years to win on one as easy, but we have big hopes for her. She might not have beaten much, but you couldn’t help but be impressed.

“We’ll take it one step at a time, nothing tested her today, so it would be wrong of me to say how good she is until she faces better competition.”

Bin Suroor said: “She got confidence when she won last time. She was blowing really hard after it, she needed it, she wasn’t really fit enough but still won.

“She worked really nicely a week ago, the trial put her spot on for this. She’s improving all the time and the trip is fine.

“We’ll keep options open, obviously the UAE Oaks and even the Derby are possible, we’ll speak to Sheikh Mohammed. She’s a filly for the future really.

“We’ll enter her in the Kentucky Oaks and think about the European Classic races.”

Dettori might not have needed to do much on Soft Whisper, but he timed his run on Bedouin’s Story to perfection in the Longines Spirit Collection Trophy.

Charlie Appleby and James Doyle teamed up to win the Cape Verdi at Meydan for the third successive year as Althiqa came from last to first to win impressively.

Following on from the victories of Poetic Charm and Magic Lily in the last two years, the four-year-old filly was backing up a successful season in Europe.

Althiqa was a winner at Newmarket last year
Althiqa was a winner at Newmarket last year (Hugh Routledge/PA)

She won a Listed race in France as well finishing placed in three Group Three events, but was having her first outing for over 140 days.

That mattered little with Doyle settling her right at the rear as Summer Romance and Stunning Beauty ensured a stiff pace.

The latter soon dropped away and Summer Romance was tired in the final furlong, as first Roger Varian’s Stylistique and then Althiqa swept by for a stylish win.

Godolphin dominated the Listed Zabeel Turf with the first six home all sporting the royal blue silks, headed by the unexposed Ya Hayati.

Not seen since being well beaten in the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot, Mickael Barzalona came with a late run down the outside to beat Bright Melody and Star Safari, with all three trained by Charlie Appleby.

Power play likely again for Dettori with Bahrain ace

Bahrain trainer Allan Smith is confident he can acquire the services of Frankie Dettori again for Dark Power in the 1351 Turf Sprint in Saudi Arabia next month.

The combination teamed up for a shock 66-1 triumph in the near seven-furlong contest in Riyadh 12 months ago, when they left such smart performers as Mubtasim, Glorious Journey and Suedois in their wake.

“He’s riding for me this Friday in Bahrain in our Crown Prince’s Cup and I shall have a quiet word, but I’m almost sure he will be on board,” said Smith.

Smith fondly recalled the big day in 2020.

“Dark Power had broken the 1200-metre track record and the 1000m track record in Bahrain before going there,” he said.

“We knew he was a quality horse, but we were only racing up against what we had here.

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“I remember saying to Frankie when I legged him up, ‘don’t forget there’s prize money down to sixth’. He said he wouldn’t forget, but going round the paddock I thought it would take a good one to beat him. He looked every bit the part.”

Dark Power has raced little in the last 11 months due to the pandemic, but Smith reports the former Clive Cox-trained gelding to be ready to defend his crown.

“He’s had nearly a year not doing too much. We were hoping to run him on World Cup night (in Dubai) when we got back from Saudi, but that was cancelled,” he said.

“I didn’t want to get him ready too early this year because we always had this race in mind.

“He’s just had two quiet runs, but basically we’ve been trying to keep his weight low as he eats like the proverbial horse.

“The day after his race the other day his weight was pretty much spot on. It is roughly what it was going into the Saudi race last year.”

Dettori’s mount for Smith in the 10-furlong, 12-runner Bahrain showpiece is Rayounpour, formerly trained in Ireland by Mick Halford.

His trainer believes he can improve for a run that saw him beat four of his rivals over a mile and a half on New Year’s Day.

Smith said: “Rayounpour won over both 10 furlongs and a mile and a half for Mick Halford, so we know he’s got the pace for this. It looks a good renewal with the likes of Simsir and Litigator in the field. Frankie knows the Bahrain circuit well and I’m looking forward to it.”

Simsir – like Rayounpour once trained by Halford – defeated a high-class field in the Bahrain International Trophy in November.

Simsir, who is trained by Fawzi Nass, benefitted from an enterprising ride from Scottish jockey Lee Newman in November, but Nass has opted for Dutch rider Adrie De Vries for his latest challenge.

Nass said: “Simsir has enjoyed a nice break since his win in the Bahrain International Trophy. I think he has improved since then and has definitely strengthened up. The standard of racing in Bahrain is a lot more competitive than it used to be four or five years ago.”

Andrea Atzeni has plumped for the ex-Roger Varian-trained Litigator over another former stablemate Gold Wand (Mickael Barzalona). The pair are now with Haider Ebrahim.

Atzeni said: “Litigator is in great shape and his home work has been very good. It was a very tight decision between the two, but on his home work, he has a little bit more speed than the filly. Both of them have won over a mile and a half, so this would probably be their minimum trip.

“It’s a fair track with a long straight and the best horse normally wins here.”

Ghaiyyath crowned best in the world for 2020

Ghaiyyath has been crowned as the Longines World’s Best Racehorse for 2020.

Trained by Charlie Appleby for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation, Ghaiyyath won three of Europe’s biggest Group One contests.

His year began in Dubai where he took a Group Three by a wide margin before he won the Coronation Cup, which was run at Newmarket last season.

After that he took on the mighty Enable, as she reappeared in the Coral-Eclipse but could not catch Ghaiyyath – who was relentless from the front under William Buick.

Buick repeated the same tactics in a top-class Juddmonte International at York – in which he beat Magical, 2000 Guineas hero Kameko and Prince of Wales’s winner Lord North. The race on the Knavesmire was recognised in the awards as the best in the world in 2020.

Magical turned the tables on Ghaiyyath in his final outing in the Irish Champion Stakes, but he had already done enough to secure the prize, with a final rating of 130.

Appleby said: “I’m obviously delighted, first for Ghaiyyath and also His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.

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“It’s a much-deserved award, given what he did this summer – he wore his heart on his sleeve, and for me and the team he brightened this summer up in what we know was a testing season.

“All credit goes to the team and Godolphin and, most importantly, Sheikh Mohammed for allowing us to train a horse like this and allowing us to give him the time that was needed to come to the fore.

“I’ve been fortunate over the last couple of years to have him over 10 and 12 furlongs and then Blue Point over five furlongs, and both were at their best at the age of five – which is all thanks to Godolphin allowing us to keep them in training, so they can show what they can do as the finished article.

“Darley Stud were very keen to get their hands on him once they knew he was coming to the end of his career, and I’m sure he’ll be a prized asset. He’s a third-generation sire after Dubai Millennium and Dubawi – they all competed at the highest level. He’s got a fantastic pedigree and is striking-looking.”

Bob Baffert’s Authentic (126) was crowned leading three-year-old and the top dirt performer on the back of wins in the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“Authentic was just getting better and better, and to put him up there with some of those great horses is amazing,” said Baffert.

“It takes a really good horse to win the Derby and the Breeders’ Cup, like (American) Pharoah did. It’s just an honour. To have a horse that good is what it’s all about.”

Frankie Dettori claimed the World’s Best Jockey title for a third successive year, a title based upon performances in the 100 highest-rated Group and Grade One races all over the world.

Dettori, who turned 50 in December, said: “It’s a great honour to win it for the third year in a row – who’d have thought at my age I could still do it!

“It’s a great initiative from Longines to have it for the 100 best races around the world.”

Dettori enjoyed another memorable Royal Ascot and, of course, landed a third King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes with Enable.

Stradivarius won the Gold Cup again at Royal Ascot by a wide margin
Stradivarius won the Gold Cup again at Royal Ascot by a wide margin (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“For us Royal Ascot is the pinnacle, and Stradivarius has been around for years. He’s an amazing little horse with a fabulous turn of foot,” he said of the multiple Gold Cup winner.

“Palace Pier is a wonderful miler who came on the scene at Royal Ascot, winning an epic St James’s Palace. He then took on his elders in the Jacques le Marois, which is one of the best mile races in Europe.

“It goes without saying Enable has not just been the best horse but the horse I’ve loved most in my life – she’s won races around the world.

“We tried to win three Arcs, but just couldn’t make it. She managed to win three King Georges which is a record, though.

“I miss her a lot, but she gave the public so much joy, and she helped me win this award.”

Lord Glitters sparkles for O’Meara at Meydan

Lord Glitters returned to his best when producing a power-packed finish to land the Group Two Singspiel Stakes at Meydan.

The David O’Meara-trained grey was winning for the first time since the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2019 – with that Group One success coming three months after he had finished third in the Dubai Turf.

That nine-furlong heat on World Cup night could again be on the agenda, after Lord Glitters ran out a convincing winner over that distance in the hands of Adrie de Vries. The Dutch jockey was replacing Danny Tudhope who was unable to make the trip to Dubai.

The eight-year-old only had two horses behind him turning into the straight, but once he hit top gear it was a one-horse race.

Lord Glitters powered to victory by three lengths from Zakouski, with Dream Castle a length and a half away in third place.

Speaking from home, North Yorkshire-based O’Meara said: “It’s a mighty performance – an eight-year-old and still running to that level. It’s brilliant and he was given a great ride by Adrie de Vries.

“He ran a lovely race in Bahrain in their big race before Christmas, finishing his race very well. We were hoping he was in good form going out there and that he would be competitive. It worked out very well for him.

“The last time he ran at Meydan in the Dubai Turf he ran Almond Eye and Vivlos quite close, giving them their fillies’ allowance.

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“He’s actually run a really good race there before so he copes with the track well.”

Lord Glitters could well race again before having a second crack at the Dubai Turf on March 27.

O’Meara added: “You’d like to think the Dubai Turf would be the target. There’s a bit of water to go under the bridge before then. There might be a race in February and hopefully on to World Cup night. He’s staying over in Dubai.”

Lord Glitters earned a quote of 6-1 for the Dubai Turf with Paddy Power.

Military March was a disappointment on his first run for Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor since his fourth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in June, finishing eighth.

Frankie Dettori celebrates victory on his return to Dubai
Frankie Dettori celebrates victory on his return to Dubai (Dubai Racing Club)

However, Bin Suroor and jockey Frankie Dettori made amends on Land Of Legends in the Group Two Al Fahidi Fort – the last of the five races on the card in which they teamed up together.

It was a first success in Dubai for Dettori since he won the Godolphin Mile on African Story for Bin Suroor in 2012.

The Italian produced the five-year-old to perfection to lead inside the final furlong and land the spoils by three-quarters of a length and the same from the Charlie Appleby-trained pair of D’Bai and Glorious Journey.

Dettori – who performed his trademark flying dismount – said: “I had the perfect trip. I was sat behind the leaders and got the split at the right time.

“It was a good effort, but everything fell right. We had a good draw and I managed to get him into a nice rhythm and he won.

“Honestly, I’m delighted. We had high hopes all night and we managed to get one in our last race together today, so I’m pleased for Saeed and the team. It’s nice to be back.”

Bin Suroor said: “Isn’t it great to see Frankie back, winning races and riding as well as ever. We have been friends for about 27 years.

“This horse has been working very well and showing lots of speed at home, so we were hoping for a big run but he will improve for that because he had been off since March.”

Dettori completed a double when steering the Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral to victory in the Dubai Dash.

Always prominent as Caspian Prince helped set a scorching pace, Equilateral quickened nicely to follow up his victory in the race from 12 months ago.

Of being back in Dubai, where he has enjoyed so much success for Bin Suroor in the royal blue of Godolphin, Dettori, who celebrated his 50th birthday in December, said: “I’m really enjoying my time here, maybe because I’m running out of years but I’m trying to taking it all in.

“Most people are locked in their houses doing nothing, and at least I get to do what I love. I am going to stay here in the United Arab Emirates until Super Saturday (March 6).”

Military Law took round one of the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge for trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri in the hands of Antonio Fresu and was cut to 6-1 from 10-1 for the Dubai World Cup with Paddy Power.

Switzerland caused a 50-1 upset in the Group Three Dubawi Stakes beating Gladiator King, his Satish Seemar-trained stablemate and the 1-2 favourite, into third place under Tadhg O’Shea.

Dettori and Bin Suroor together again on opening Carnival card

One of racing’s oldest alliances is reunited at Meydan on Thursday as Saeed bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori team up on the opening night of the Dubai Carnival.

The duo conquered the racing world in the early days of the Godolphin operation, with the likes of Lammtarra, Daylami, Swain, Fantastic Light and Dubai Millennium taking starring roles.

Dettori split with Sheikh Mohammed’s team in 2012 after 18 years, but following a few seasons in the wilderness, the ever-popular Italian built himself back up to once again be very much the man for the big occasion – and Bin Suroor is hoping to relive the glory days.

In Military March, who was among the favourites for the Derby having finished fourth in the 2000 Guineas before injury curtailed his season, Dettori has been entrusted with the stable’s big hope.

Military March won the Autumn Stakes a a juvenile
Military March won the Autumn Stakes as a juvenile (Tim Goode/PA)

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“We are friends, we have been for many years, ever since the start of Godolphin,” said Bin Suroor.

“I’m going to support Frankie with better horses out in Dubai and in the UK when he is free, so I’m looking forward to seeing some good results with him again.

“We had lots of success worldwide. He’s the best jockey in the world and we’d been together for years and years before this and it’s great that it can continue.”

Military March reappears in the Group Two Singspiel Stakes, where he will face a previous Queen Anne winner in Lord Glitters and Ralph Beckett’s smart Kinross.

“He’s obviously coming back off a long break, but since he’s been in Dubai he’s been working really nicely,” said Bin Suroor.

“This is his first race of the year, but we’re looking forward to it – he’s in good condition and good form.

“Of course he’ll improve from the race, he needs it, but so far he’s doing good. He’s happy and fresh in the morning.

“I’m sure Frankie will give him a nice ride and we’ll take it from there.”

Military March has also been given an entry in the Saudi Cup, but has yet to race on a dirt surface.

Dettori and Bin Suroor enjoyed plenty of success together
Dettori and Bin Suroor enjoyed plenty of success together (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

“We’ll see how he gets on in this before deciding about whether to switch to dirt. He has an entry in the Saudi Cup. We might give him a run on the dirt to give him a chance to prove he can,” said his trainer.

Dubai Icon in the opening seven-furlong handicap, Desert Fire in the Dubai Racing Club Classic, Gifts Of Gold in Round One of the Al Maktoum Challenge and Land Of Legends in the Al Fahidi Fort are Dettori’s other rides for Bin Suroor.

He also teams up with Charlie Hills to ride Equilateral in the closing five-furlong sprint.

Gosden and Dettori pay tribute to owner Khalid Abdullah

John Gosden and Frankie Dettori led the tributes to owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah following his death on Tuesday.

Together the trio enjoyed huge success on the track, most notably with the brilliant racemare Enable, who was retired last October having won 15 of her 19 career starts, with her tally of 11 Group Ones including back-to-back victories in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Last summer Enable became the first horse to win a third King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, while her big-race haul also included the Oaks at Epsom, the Irish Oaks, two Yorkshire Oaks’ and the Coral-Eclipse.

Other big-race winners for the Abdullah-Gosden combination include 2019 St Leger hero Logician, the top-class miler Kingman and the popular sprinter Oasis Dream.

Enable won two Arcs for Abdullah, Gosden and Dettori
Enable won two Arcs for Abdullah, Gosden and Dettori (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

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Gosden told the PA news agency: “Prince Khalid Abdullah first enjoyed going racing in the 1950s as a young man in Paris. This sparked his bold and thorough plan to establish a breeding operation in the late 1970s, an illustration of his brilliant mind.

“In the period of 20 years, he established himself as both a European and American champion breeder. His charming and humorous manner was coupled with a great strategic approach, both in business and in his horseracing and breeding operation.

“He was a very private and patrician gentleman and a very strong family man, for whom it has been a great honour and privilege to train for 38 years.”

Dettori hailed Abdullah as “a true giant of the sport”.

He said: “He was a great of the sport. I had one of my early Group Ones aboard a horse he owned called Ryafan in the Prix Marcel Boussac, who was trained by John (Gosden).

“He was amazing and a true giant of the sport. You could go on naming all the great horses he has owned, but you would have to say Enable, Frankel and Dancing Brave are the three that stand out.

“Enable will always be the apple of my eye and the last time I saw him was when she won her second Arc.

“He was a real gentleman and he loved his horses. He was very passionate and knowledgeable about them and the results speak for themselves. What he has done for the whole industry is fantastic.

Frankel was unbeaten in 14 career starts
Frankel was unbeaten in 14 career starts (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

“Though Enable will always stand out to me, Frankel will always be the best horse that I’ve seen and have had to race against.

“I went to see Dancing Brave win the 2000 Guineas in 1986 – I wasn’t riding then and he was incredible. He was then beaten in that famous Derby before winning the King George and the Arc.

“I grew up in an era watching horses like Dancing Brave win and you were always very excited that one day you might get to wear those silks – ones that had been associated with such great success.”

Bin Suroor recalls great moments with Frankie Dettori

Before Frankie Dettori’s Indian summer with John Gosden, his best days in the saddle were when teaming up with Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

For the nostalgists, the fact the two have linked up again in recent years on the odd occasion has been pleasing to see and has brought back memories of some great occasions.

Dettori – who is celebrating his 50th birthday – rode many modern greats of the Turf for Bin Suroor – names such as Daylami, Dubawi, Doyen, Lammtarra, Sakhee and of course Dubai Millennium.

Frankie Dettori won the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Lammtarra
Frankie Dettori won the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Lammtarra (PA)

The latter met with just one defeat in 10 career outings, in the 1999 Derby, yet he went on to win the Prix Jacques le Marois, Dubai World Cup on dirt and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, in which he was ridden by Jerry Bailey as Dettori was recuperating from the injuries suffered in the plane crash that claimed the life of pilot Patrick Mackey in 2000.

As the two men are of a similar age, Bin Suroor felt their partnership was more like a friendship and made travelling the world an enjoyable experience.

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“I’m only a couple of years older than him and we’ve always been good friends since Godolphin started 26 years ago and neither of us spoke that good English at the time,” said Bin Suroor.

Frankie Dettori and Saeed bin Suroor after Russian Snows made sure of the trainers' title in 1996
Frankie Dettori and Saeed bin Suroor after Russian Snows made sure of the trainers’ title in 1996 (John Giles/PA)

“He’s a great man and a wonderful jockey – one of the best in history. He has done so many good things for racing worldwide.

“We would travel all over the world together and everyone wanted to speak to him. He always had time for them. Pictures at airports, train stations and in restaurants.

“He rode so many big winners for me and he’s still doing it all now, he’s still at the top of the tree. He is what you need for racing – people love him everywhere.

“Wherever you go, Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, America everyone loves him.”

As it often the case with the world’s best in any sport, it has been said that the bigger the event, the better Dettori rides and Bin Suroor agrees.

“Because we are friends the winners together mean more. He thrived in the biggest races, they bring the best out of him,” he said.

Frankie Dettori receives his prize from The Queen, after winning the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1999
Frankie Dettori receives his prize from The Queen, after winning the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1999 (Neil Munns/PA)

“Daylami would have been our best together, we loved him and he’s my favourite horse. He won all over the world.

“I remember before the Breeders’ Cup in 1999 I told everyone before the race he could not get beaten, which was stupid really. Thankfully he won. Frankie gave him a good ride.

“He’s an amazing jockey, very rare. You can hear the crowds shouting for him, not the horses!”

Early years with Luca Cumani helped shape Dettori into world-class talent

Luca Cumani can now count his blessings he was the first trainer to recognise Frankie Dettori’s talents, though their relationship got off to a rather rocky start.

Dettori’s father, Gianfranco, sent him to Bedford House Stables in Newmarket, as Cumani was a fellow Italian and his 14-year-old son could speak no English.

When Dettori turned up on Cumani’s doorstep in 1985 it was not long before the trainer realised he had a tearaway teenager on his hands. However, it also quickly became apparent to him the fledgling rider had a special talent.

Frankie Dettori with his father, Gianfranco
Frankie Dettori with his father, Gianfranco (David Davies/PA)

“Frankie is one of the greatest jockeys after Lester Piggott to have graced this island,” said Cumani.

“I was very lucky he started off with me. I didn’t think I was so lucky in the beginning because he was such a nightmare.

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“Looking back, I consider myself lucky to have had him in his formative years. Even though he was such a devil to begin with as a teenager, he always had that talent and always had the will to win that transmitted to the horses.”

The pair formed a highly-successful relationship with Cumani picking out some of the many big-race triumphs they shared.

Markofdistinction (left) wins the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 1990
Markofdistinction (left) wins the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 1990 (Rebeca Naden/PA)

“There have been so many fantastic memories. The main one would be the races we won together at Ascot,” he said.

“Ascot has always been one of my favourite racecourses and so it has been for Frankie.

“A long time before his ‘Magnificent Seven’ we won many top-class races at Ascot together.

“Markofdistinction was his first Royal Ascot winner in the Queen Anne in 1990, then we had a double of Group Ones in the autumn there with Markofdistinction again (in the QEII) and Shamshir in the Fillies’ Mile.

“And of the others all over the world, let’s not forget Barathea in the (1994) Breeders’ Cup. He was a highlight of our association. It’s been fantastic.”

Cumani, who retired in 2018 after 43 years with a licence, gave his opinion on why Dettori’s career has enjoyed such a long life.

“He’s lasted so long because he hasn’t overdone it,” he said.

“And it’s like a horse – he’s sound, mentally and physically. He’s probably only chased the championship a handful of times and hasn’t worn himself out chasing championships. I think he’s had a charmed life and his genes were such that he has longevity.

“His talent, plus his will to win, has made him what he is – one of the greatest jockeys that ever lived.”

Racing luminaries pay tribute to Frankie Dettori on 50th birthday

As Frankie Dettori celebrates his 50th birthday, leading figures from the world of racing have saluted his enduring talent:

Sir Anthony McCoy, 20-times champion National Hunt jockey

Tony McCoy (left) and Frankie Dettori at Sandown
Tony McCoy (left) and Frankie Dettori at Sandown (Tony Harris/PA)

“Frankie is like Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Mike Tyson and Tiger Woods – there’s just something different about him.

“I read a quote from a great philosopher, who said ‘Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see’. That is what Frankie is like – obviously there’s a lot of talent there, but there’s also that little bit of genius in him that means he can see things faster and better than other people can.

“With the exception of Lester Piggott, he’s the best-known person in racing. A lot of people can talk the talk, but not many can walk the walk, but he has – all around the world.

“Frankie doesn’t need anyone to say how great he is. He’s a brilliant person as well as a brilliant jockey – he’s got it all.”

Aidan O’Brien, record-breaking trainer:

Frankie Dettori winning the St Leger for Aidan O'Brien aboard Scorpion in 2005
Frankie Dettori winning the St Leger for Aidan O’Brien aboard Scorpion in 2005 (PA)

“Frankie is a wonderful jockey, he always has been. He’s a fabulous rider and a great fellow.”

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Ed Dunlop, who teamed up with Dettori for big-race wins with the mares Snow Fairy, Ouija Board and Lailani:

All smiles for the Snow Fairy team following the 2012 Irish Champion Stakes
All smiles for the Snow Fairy team following the 2012 Irish Champion Stakes (PA)

“He’s been a wonderful ambassador, he’s a wonderful jockey and is a great person, There’s no-one quite like Frankie!

“He’s ridden Group One winners for us and for many other other people. And we all wish him a very happy birthday.

“He’s ridden Lailani, Ouija Board, Snow Fairy – who were all great horses for me. He’s hard to get hold of now, but we’ve loved having him riding our horses.”

American trainer Wesley Ward, who uses Dettori whenever he can, particularly at Royal Ascot, with horses like Lady Aurelia and Campanelle:

Frankie Dettori celebrates victory in Queen Mary Stakes with Lady Aurelia in 2016
Frankie Dettori celebrates victory in Queen Mary Stakes with Lady Aurelia in 2016 (David Davies/PA)

“I’m 52 and Frankie is 50 – he sure does look a lot younger than me!

“I hope he keeps going. He’s the greatest jockey in the world, that’s for sure, and has accomplished more than anyone.

“Long live the King!”

Peter Chapple-Hyam, trainer of Dettori’s first Derby winner Authorized:

He had to wait until his 15th attempt, but Authorized gave Frankie Dettori a Derby at last in 2007
He had to wait until his 15th attempt, but Authorized gave Frankie Dettori a Derby at last in 2007 (Rebecca Naden/PA)

“He’s a fantastic jockey who has stood the test of time.

“I think I used him as a 7lb claimer and I remember him winning a maiden on Dr Devious (in 1991).

“I was very confident Authorized was in good form going into the Derby. I suffer with panic attacks and anxiety, but the good thing going to Epsom was nobody wanted to speak to me as everyone wanted to speak to Frankie, so me and the horse could go there nice and easy.

“He’s been superb and age has certainly not stopped his ability – he’s riding better than ever.”

Ray Cochrane, Dettori’s long-time friend and former agent:

Ray Cochrane received a bravery award for saving Frankie Dettori's life in a plane crash
Ray Cochrane received a bravery award for saving Frankie Dettori’s life in a plane crash (John Stillwell/PA)

“It’s hard to believe he’s 50, although it does seem a lifetime ago when we first introduced to each other at Luca’s.

“He’s still doing well for an old boy! He’s a brilliant jockey and has been a great ambassador for the sport – he’s the best.”

Sir Michael Stoute, who has combined with Dettori to win big races all over the world:

Sir Michael Stoute hugs Frankie Dettori after Conduit won the St Leger
Sir Michael Stoute hugs Frankie Dettori after Conduit won the St Leger (John Giles/PA)

“Frankie has a perfect physique in addition to which he is a gifted horseman with a very competitive nature. It is a good mix!”

Gosden and Dettori seeking Global dominance in Bahrain

John Gosden and Frankie Dettori can look forward plenty of local support when they team up with Global Giant in the Bahrain International Trophy on Friday.

Bought primarily with this race in mind out of Ed Dunlop’s yard by Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa – a driving force behind the event – the five-year-old has won two of his four starts for current connections.

A Listed winner in July, the Shamardal entire was bogged down by heavy ground at Haydock in a Group Three last time out.

Assistant trainer Thady Gosden said: “Global Giant was purchased by HH Shaikh Isa and Jake Warren with this race in mind.

“He won the Listed Steventon Stakes at Newbury before unfortunately encountering unsuitably soft ground at Haydock on his last start. Ideally, we’d have had a prep race before this, but the ground went at the end of the season, so we thought the best thing to do was to leave him and bring him here fresh.

“His work here has been good. The turf track here is world class and he’s enjoyed the faster ground. We are drawn five which we are happy about. They say the inside of the track is where you want to be.”

“It would be wonderful to win the race for His Highness Shaikh Isa, this race was his brainchild so it would mean a lot to him.”

Aidan O’Brien has his first runner in Bahrain in the shape of last year’s Irish Derby winner Sovereign.

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He was last seen running over two miles on Champions Day at Ascot.

“I don’t think he ran too bad at Ascot, he just got tired late on,” said O’Brien.

“He seems in good form since and he should like the ground.

“This is 10 furlongs so we’ll find out a lot, he’s in good order. He’s going there quite a fresh horse and he’s lightly raced. It looks a very good track and everyone is very positive about it.”

Andrew Balding’s Bangkok ran in the Derby last year and was second in the King Edward VII Stakes, but he has not been seen since finishing last in the Eclipse to Ghaiyyath due to injury.

“He had two tough assignments in the UK this year in very strong Group Ones. He actually ran quite well in the Coral-Eclipse and wasn’t beaten far by six very high-class horses,” said Balding.

“He threw a splint which is quite a common injury, but less common with older horses like him. He was very sore, and we had to give him plenty of time, but we’ve been very happy with him since he came back into training. He’s coming here pretty much match fit.

“This race has been the target ever since we realised that we’d have to sit out the bulk of the summer season at home. We ran Pivoine here for King Power (owners). I’d say Bangkok is probably a cut above Pivoine but he’ll need to be.”

Mick Channon’s Certain Lad was unplaced under a big weight in the Cambridgeshire last time out but prior to that had won the Strensall Stakes at York.

Assistant trainer Jack Channon said: “We’re very happy with him. He’s a very good traveller who takes it all in his stride. He’s been very relaxed since he came over and has eaten and trained well since he got off the plane.

“You’d have to say his performance in the Strensall was a career best, he beat some nice horses that day and we’re hoping he can keep progressing from there.

“To win the Bahrain International Trophy would be fantastic. We all know that money talks and it helps to run the business. Chris (Hurst, owner) has been a great supporter of ours and has quite a few horses in training and to be able to have a go at pots like this can really help people like him stay in the game.”

Hollie Doyle teams up with the Japanese star Deirdre in what is set to be her final run before retirement.

The daughter of Harbinger has campaigned almost exclusively in Europe for the past two years and has a Group One win at Goodwood to show for her efforts, but has been bogged down by soft ground on more than one occasion.

Assistant trainer Yoshi Hashida said: “Her condition going into the Arc was perfect, but the heavy ground went against her. The French horses coped with it better.

“Her two Group One wins came on right-handed tracks at Kyoto and Goodwood. The long straight at Sakhir will suit her. The track looks very fair and we like the firm ground that we will get. We are very excited to take part in the race.”

Deirdre has been ridden by Oisin Murphy and latterly Jamie Spencer but Hashida is excited at linking up with Doyle, who has enjoyed a stellar season.

“We’ve seen that Hollie Doyle is one of the best jockeys in Britain this season,” he said.

“Deirdre is now six and she is a very clever horse, we need something fresh to energise her and that is why we feel that Hollie is an ideal jockey for her. We have found that when a female work rider rides her, that suits her better.

“Mitsuru (Hashida) has said that this will likely be Deirdre’s last race. We are emotional that this journey is almost over.”

Aunt Pearl produces power-packed performance in Juvenile Fillies Turf

Aunt Pearl was a brilliant all-the-way winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland.

Brad Cox’s filly was the clear favourite to extend her unbeaten record to three following a Grade Two victory at the track a month ago and took a step up to the highest level in her stride with an awesome front-running display.

Florent Geroux’s mount made a smart start and quickly opened a clear gap over the rest of the field, with Wesley Ward’s Queen Mary and Prix Morny heroine Campanelle leading the chasing pack for much of the way under Frankie Dettori.

In truth, however, the remainder never looked like landing a blow on Aunt Pearl from the home turn, as she kept pouring it on and passed the post with plenty in hand.

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The Irish pair of Aidan O’Brien’s Mother Earth and Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet made late gains to finish second and third respectively, with Campanelle weakening into fourth.

Cox said: “She did a similar opening quarter to what she did in the Jessamine Stakes here – I felt pretty confident she would have some kick left and she certainly did.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt (she can improve) and if you dig into her pedigree a little bit it looks like she could maybe even go beyond a mile.

“She’s a super talented filly and I’m very proud of her.”

Geroux raised the possibility of a trip to Britain for Aunt Pearl in 2021, saying: “She’s phenomenal – she’s purely gifted.

“Her workouts in the morning have been exceptional. She goes so fast, but she comes back to me (settles).

“I hope we can go to England with her next year – that would be great.”

Syndicate spokesman Michael Dubb said: “We have bought a lot of horses overseas through Liz Crow and this was one of the fillies. We knew from the beginning that she was the best.

“Brad is a genius. He plots everything and has enormous attention to detail. In fact he just lives and breathes horses. I do think she is in a league of her own and wherever we go, it will be another great ride.

“She has so much natural speed that we decided to let her roll as there was no reason to take it away from her.

“We will talk to the partners and of course to Brad, we will leave it up to him to plot a campaign.”

Asked if a trip to the UK could be on the agenda, Dubb said: “I leave everything up to my trainer and I don’t want to start telling him where he should run.”

Of Campanelle, who was trying a mile for the first time, Dettori said: “I had to chase her out of the gate before restraining her and that meant giving the winner four lengths.

“I think she would get seven furlongs, and at least we tried.”