Racing: Dettori called up for Proclamation in Haydock sprint

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The Independent Online

It is now, and has been for some time and always will be, good to be Frankie Dettori. Racing's best communicator - certainly to the media and arguably to a horse also - is only just back from two months damage with a collarbone injury, but, already, the delights are piling up.

Along with the announcement that he will soon partner the best three-year-old middle-distance horse in the land, Motivator in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, came the news that Dettori is to link up with perhaps the outstanding beast of the genre at shorter distances, Proclamation.

The Sussex Stakes winner has been supplemented for Saturday's Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock Park and Jeremy Noseda's three-year-old, who beat Soviet Song by half a length last time out, is one of 21 confirmations for the £225,000 race.

Nunthorpe Stakes heroine La Cucaracha, Terry Mills' progressive Resplendent Glory and July Cup third Etlaala also stand their ground for the six-furlong contest.

Maurice de Gheest runner-up Goodricke, 2003 winner and last year's runner-up Somnus and David Nicholls' Stewards' Cup winner Gift Horse are also in the melting pot. "We'll have to discuss it with the owners but I think he will probably take his chance in the Sprint Cup on Saturday, ground permitting," Nicholls said.

It is evolving into a weekend to savour. Ouija Board is one of 16 entries for the September Stakes at Newmarket on the same day, as the filly who once flashed across the firmament in a cape attempts to get her career back on track.

Ed Dunlop's brilliant athlete carried all before her last term, winning two Oaks, including the Epsom version, and a Breeders' Cup title, but was a bitter disappointment when returning as a four-year-old in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes. She finished seventh of eight that day but was subsequently found to have suffered a small stress fracture to her near-fore cannonbone.

Ouija Board is unlikely to get a soft race on her reappearance in the mile and a half Group Three, however, with some useful customers among the other possibles. Saeed Bin Suroor has put in three representatives - last year's winner Mamool, Cherry Mix, who finished a place ahead of Ouija Board in last year's Arc, and Andean, who made a pleasing seasonal bow at Headquarters earlier this month.

Sir Michael Stoute could be represented by the much-improved and four-timer seeking Imperial Stride, while other notables are Irish raider Chelsea Rose and John Gosden's beautifully bred Winds Of March.

Few top races take place these days without the influence of Mark Johnston and the Middleham trainer proved once again yesterday that he can mix quality with quantity when he registered 100 domestic winners for the 12th consecutive campaign. Marias Magic in the Chisholm Bookmakers Handicap at Newcastle will never again know such celebrity.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to have reached the 100 mark," said Johnston. "It's been another good season. Obviously there's more important things in a racing year, but we'll all be devastated when we don't reach that target. But we've done it again and that's great.

"I think we've got there about two or three weeks earlier than last season so that also shows things are going well. It's not only me who deserves the credit because we've got a superb team who all know their targets. This achievement is as much for them as it is for me."

Johnston runs the three-year-old Crosspeace in tomorrow's Fuerstenberg-Rennen at Baden-Baden. Crosspeace, who finished third in a Group Three race in Norway eight days ago, will be the only British hope in a field of 11 for the Group Three event.

l Jamie Spencer tightened his grip on the jockeys' championship yesterday with a treble at Newcastle. Spencer is on the 118-winner mark while closest rival Seb Sanders, who had just one success yesterday, is nine behind.

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