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FRANKIE DETTORI, the Italian jockey, has discovered an unexpected occupational hazard. Stewards at The Curragh this week handed him a seven- day suspension after he removed the strap from his back protector to avoid aggravating a delicate medical condition.

"I had a severe piles problem in South Africa two years ago," Dettori said. "It was caused by the jock strap part of the back protector, so I cut it out."

Dettori plans to appeal against the ban, which he describes as "an absolute joke" - but, until he can get back in the saddle, where the rest of us stand on this rather depends on how we sit.

NEW YORK landlords are so sick of bad behaviour by UN mandarins that small ads have started to feature a new abbreviation: NDNCND. Translation? No dogs, no cats, no diplomats.

YOU CAN'T HURRY love, ma cherie. The odds are 1-2 that a French date expects sex first time out (or within seven days of first meeting their putative lover) compared with 1-5 for Brit, Yank, German or Canadian paramours.

According to The Book of Chance, the French also reach orgasm 40 per cent sooner.

"But perhaps they're working against the clock," says author John Hodgson, "as 64 per cent of French lovers keep their watches on during sex." Maybe they're fine-tuning their timing?

WHODATHUNKIT? Iced tea treats foot fungus.

IVANA TRUMP, allegedly a real person, has complained to Madame Tussaud's. First, she's unhappy about the scarlet lipstick adorning the cupid's bow on her mannequin. "It made me look like a vamp," protested the sometime ice-skater. "They have promised me they'll use a softer colour." Then, realising that Tussaud's is about to open in New York and Las Vegas, she requested that the waxworks moves her from the socialite section to the entrepreneur zone. Ivana contends she qualifies. Hmm... she's put her name to a couple of potboilers and flogs stuff on shopping channels at the sleepier end of the schedule.

"After all," she said, "I'm a working woman." Right. And Pandora's a kumquat.

THE LONDON Transport minute currently clocks in at between 100-120 seconds.

SAN DIEGO has been suffering a spree of fish-related violence. Wire reports have a 37-year-old boat worker arrested for "beating a customer with a 20lb tuna". An earlier incident saw an unidentified male arrested after "battering his girlfriend with a large tuna outside a supermarket". Here in London, they can confiscate Pandora's tuna the moment they prise her cold, dead fingers from its flesh...

HEATHER GRAHAM (pictured), who plays Felicity Shagwell in the Austin Powers sequel, says: "I love telling dirty jokes - sex is funny." But sex on screen gives her boyfriends the green eye - and she's not immune either. "I'll freak out if Ed [her thesp boyfriend] has to do something sexual in a film," Graham says. Hmmmm... Graham's body of work's most recent entry was playing Rollergirl, the porno star in that rompfest of skin, Boogie Nights.

A NEWSPAPER called The Times is to try and reinvent itself in three parts. The first is McNews, the last is Business and Sport. In the middle, containing features and arts, a section called The Loop. As in "Out of... "

WHEN PETER "Humility" Mandelson was delayed for three hours returning from Jersey this week, he demanded to speak to BA senior management. When Mandy meets BA head honcho Colin Marshall at the next Britain in Europe campaign (Marshall is leader, Mandy's on the council)... perhaps the issue of delays will be in the air?

WINNER OF Pandora's saucer of milk this lap is a player called Baubles who, when asked to take a position on a New Labour media "personality", said: "Well, you won't trip up over her talent." Miaow!

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