Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dettori Does His Rivals a Favour

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dettori Does His Rivals a Favour

Article excerpt

Byline: By Doug Moscrop

It wasn't a case of sleeping with the enemy, rather the weird experience of going over to the other side to lend a hand.

Being employed by your greatest rival in racing was indeed a one-off for Frankie Dettori, but at least he had the blessing of his boss Sheikh Mohammed in the knowledge that no harm could come to his powerful Godolphin empire.

When there was a doubt about Motivator's participation in the Irish Champion Stakes, Dettori passed over the chance of riding the Derby hero by grasping the initiative, contacting Aidan O'Brien, and offering his services on St Leger favourite Scorpion. The possibility of him sitting out on an important Saturday was too much to bear.

And the sting in the tail was not so much Scorpion showing his rivals the way home in the final classic of the season, but Kieren Fallon's decision to desert the colt, stay at home instead, and partner Oratorio in the Leopardstown showpiece, which was vindicated.

For Dettori it was a day of mixed emotions. Usually, he would be attempting to add to his classic haul for Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed, but they didn't have a worthy contender and the way was clear for the Italian to do business with the opposition in what was a strange scenario.

Just half an hour before Oratorio's triumph in the Champion Stakes, Dettori had paved the way to a big pay-day for Coolmore, Ballydoyle and O'Brien, by steering Scorpion to victory in South Yorkshire.

The Irish raider had long been the favourite for the 229th running of the St Leger and Dettori was positive from the outset. Dictating from the front, he set a steady gallop in testing conditions, quickened the tempo half a mile out, and one by one saw off the opposition.

Scorpion jinked and brushed the running rail when Dettori gave him a serious reminder just inside the final furlong, but he never looked like being caught.

The last rival to play his hand was The Geezer who was ridden with more restraint. Although he fought bravely to bridge the gap and had cut the deficit to a length at the line, you always felt the leader would have found more if required. …

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