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Frankie Dettori seeking victorious return with Global Giant

Frankie Dettori is confident Global Giant can get his season off to a successful start in the Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket.

The popular Italian will be riding in Britain for the first time this year on day two of the Craven Meeting on the Rowley Mile.

His first ride is aboard the John and Thady Gosden-trained Global Giant, who will be a hot favourite to strike Group Three gold following a runaway success in the Listed Magnolia Stakes at Kempton last month.

The six-year-old had previously been on his travels during the winter – filling the runner-up spot in the Bahrain International Trophy before finishing down the field behind esteemed stable companion Mishriff in the Saudi Cup.

“I’m looking forward to riding back in Britain and getting back on Global Giant, who is owned by a good friend of mine, Sheikh Isa,” said Dettori.

“We had a crack at the Bahrain International, where we came second after missing the gate, then he didn’t take to the dirt well in the Saudi Cup.

“He won really well with Rab Havlin in a Listed race at Kempton last time. This looks a good spot for him and nine furlongs should be ideal. Everyone is happy with him at home.

“He has a favourite’s chance. It is a good ride to have as my first ride back in Britain this year.”

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While the 50-year-old will be making his domestic debut for 2021, Dettori feels as strong as ever following a profitable winter abroad.

He added: “I’ve had a great winter despite the Covid pandemic.

“I was able to ride in Dubai and I had a good Carnival out there with Saeed bin Suroor, along with riding a Group One winner for John (Gosden) on Lord North in the Dubai Turf.

“I’ve also had a couple of trips to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. I’ve really been enjoying things and I’m really looking forward to seeing people back at the races here.

“Fifty (age) is a big number and it does scare me a bit sometimes, but the body feels good at the moment – and I’m enjoying my racing.”

Naval Crown on his way to winning at York
Naval Crown on his way to winning at York (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

With two non-runners announced on Wednesday morning, Global Giant faces just three remaining rivals – My Oberon (William Haggas), San Donato (Roger Varian) and Marie’s Diamond (Mark Johnston).

Seven three-year-olds are set to face the starter in the bet365 European Free Handicap.

The betting is headed by Naval Crown, who was last seen beating fellow Charlie Appleby-trained colt Master Of The Seas in Dubai.

“Naval Crown is a very consistent horse, who was impressive on his latest start at Meydan, and he looks the one to beat,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“Stepping back down to seven furlongs is not a concern as he has a lot of natural pace, while he is a fit horse from his two starts out in Dubai.”

Legal Attack makes his reappearance for the training team of Simon and Ed Crisford.

The son of Shalaa was last seen finishing fourth in the Rockingham Stakes at York in October.

Ed Crisford said: “Legal Attack definitely showed he wants quicker ground when he ran at York as Adam (Kirby) said he got stuck in the mud and he is a nice-moving horse.

“We think the step up to seven furlongs should suit as he was crying out for it at the end of last year.

“It looks a tough enough spot to start him off, but he has been doing nicely – hopefully, this can be a nice stepping stone for him for some good summer targets.”

Percy's Lad (right) is a smart prospect for Eve Johnson Houghton
Percy’s Lad (right) is a smart prospect for Eve Johnson Houghton (Tim Goode/PA)

Percy’s Lad won his first two starts for Eve Johnson Houghton, before finishing second in a Group Three at Newbury on his most recent outing late in his juvenile campaign.

“A few of mine appear to be needing the run and we have had some disappointing results, but he deserves to be there and he did nothing wrong last season,” said the Didcot-based trainer.

“It was too soft for him at Newbury, we know he stays a mile and that is probably what he wants.

“I know we are dropping back to seven furlongs, but he is working well and I’m happy as I can be.”

Gosden seeking high draw for Mishriff’s Saudi Cup challenge

John Gosden is hoping Mishriff will get a wide draw to help his chances in the Saudi Cup in Riyadh next month.

The son of Make Believe took to the dirt surface well when runner-up in the Saudi Derby over a mile last February from stall 12 of 13.

“He worked nicely going into it, but first time on the dirt, you never know. He did have the benefit of a wide draw last year and we were thrilled the way he ran,” said Gosden.

Mishriff, owned and bred by Prince Faisal, built on that run by winning his next three races, including the French Derby when stepped up to a mile and a quarter.

“I think he’s a mile-and-a-quarter horse, very much so,” Gosden told a Saudi Cup press conference.

“He’s got a great stride, great tactical speed and a powerful finish. I think that is his perfect trip. Whether we stretch him out to a mile and a half one day, I don’t know.”

Gosden feels the nine-furlong one-bend showpiece will be run at an American pace, especially with Knicks Go and Charlatan likely to be in the line-up.

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“This race is run on the dirt and at a very different tempo. You need a wide draw,” he said.

“If it was a mile and quarter it would suit us a lot better, but it’s very fast. The Americans go hard and it’s not a race with any hiding places.

“He’s had a nice down time building up to this. He’s a genuine horse, he enjoys his training.

“He’s not a horse who requires a massive amount of work, so to that extent he’s the right type to get ready early in the year.”

David Egan is set to be reunited with Mishriff in the Saudi Cup
David Egan is set to be reunited with Mishriff in the Saudi Cup (Joe Giddens/PA)

David Egan, Prince Faisal’s retained jockey, will take the ride, having missed Mishriff’s last three races in 2020.

“He hadn’t have a great run of it, when he wanted to ride he was either suspended or he was stuck with all the quarantining,” said Gosden.

Frankie Dettori rides Global Giant for the Newmarket handler in the Middle Distance Turf Cup.

The combination went down by a neck in the valuable Bahrain International Trophy in November.

“He came back in great order and breezed nicely this (Wednesday) morning,” Gosden went on.

Global Giant and Frankie Dettori team up in the Middle Distance Turf Cup
Global Giant and Frankie Dettori team up in the Middle Distance Turf Cup (Steven Cargill/PA)

“The horse was as frustrated as the jockey and the owner and the trainer, but he got too far back and got there too late. The wire came up a stride and a half too soon, but that’s racing.

“He’s fine, he’s going for the Middle Distance. It will be a tough race. Distance-wise it’s probably the top end of his range.

“He’s got a very good chance and he’s in good form right now.”

Gosden goes for the Saudi Derby this year with New Treasure, a 90,000 guineas purchase at the Sales in November out of Jim Bolger’s stables in Ireland.

The former Jim Bolger-trained New Treasure runs for the John Gosden stable in the Saudi Derby
The former Jim Bolger-trained New Treasure runs for the John Gosden stable in the Saudi Derby (PA)

“He was in the horses-in-training sale and Jim was selling, so you have to have a sense of reality about that. He didn’t go for a great deal of money,” said Gosden.

“The horse came here and the owners wanted to aim him at this race.

“He won a Group Three (Round Tower Stakes) over six furlongs on soft ground. He’s not run over a mile before, but we’re hopeful he’ll get it.

“He’s on a one-way ticket. He races and stays there to race with the local horses.

“He’s very genuine and is a giver. He’s a fun horse to run in the race and it a great way of going down there – a Group Three winner and going for the Saudi Derby.”

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.”