Dettori in danger of missing Derby as Barzalona is handed Mandaean ride for Dante Stakes
13:05 GMT, 15 May 2012
Frankie Dettori, the nation’s favourite Flat jockey, could be struggling for mounts in both the Investec Oaks and Derby, after his French colleague Mikael Barzalona was handed the ride for Godolphin’s No 1 Derby hope Mandaean in Thursday’s Dante Stakes at York.
Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford insisted nothing should be read into the booking but Barzalona was also the man on board Goldolphin’s main Oaks hope Kailani when she won the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket’s Guineas meeting.
The booking will focus extra scrutiny on the jockey arrangements at Godolphin where long-serving Dettori now shares the mounts with Barzalona, who landed last year’s Derby on Fabre’s Pour Moi as a 19-year-old, plus Silvestre De Sousa.
In danger: Dettori has only missed one Derby in the last 20 years
Dettori, successful in the 2007 Derby with Authorized, has ridden in 19 Derbys and since his 1992 debut in the race only missed out on a ride once in 2000.
If twice-raced Mandaean, now trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni but who won the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud last year when with Andre Fabre, runs a sound Derby trial in the Dante, Barzalona, as the might in possession of the ride, would be expected to retain the mount, as he would be with Kailani.
Crisford said: ‘Sheik Mohammed wanted Mickael to ride Mandaean. There is no reason other than that.’
Dettori’s Epsom options are starting to look limited and opposition to Aidan O’Brien’s hot favourite Camelot equally thin on the ground.
Crisford confirmed that that two other Godolphin hopes prominent in the ante-post betting for the Derby – Encke and Swedish Sailor – miss the race leaving Mariner’s Cross as the stable’s only other possible Derby runner.
Happy memories: Barzalona rides Pur Moi to victory in last year's Derby
Mariner’s Cross won the Wood Ditton Stakes on his debut in April before being beaten a quarter of a length by Frankel’s brother Noble Mission in the Newmarket Stakes.
With trainer Sir Henry Cecil not declaring Noble Mission for the Dante, the focus in the last major Derby trial will be on Andrew Balding’s Bonfire, who was group one placed as a two-year-old, and John Gosden’s 2,000 Guineas sixth Fencing.
The seven-horse line-up also includes Camelot’s stablemate Ernest Hemingway plus Roger Varian’s Ektihaam, who is not entered in the Derby and will be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea in the absence of suspended Paul Hanagan.
The three-day York fixture opens on Tuesday when the focus is on the fillies in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes.
Six contenders line-up with the focus on O’Brien’s group three-placed Twirl and, particularly, John Gosden-trained The Fugue.
The latter, who was a staying-on fourth in the 1,000 Guineas, runs in the colours of composer and impresario Lord Lloyd-Webber.