When Frankie Dettori accepted the offer that resulted in him booting Scorpion to victory in last year's St Leger it was perhaps not the Italian's most diplomatic career move to ride for Godolphin's arch rivals Ballydoyle. This year there could be another tricky decision to be made. Jeremy Noseda wants the Italian for the Leger favourite, Sixties Icon, on Saturday week, but he may be asked to partner the magnificent Ouija Board in the arguably more important Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on the same afternoon. This time, with the Godolphin team firing again, it is Sheikh Mohammed's plans that will determine where his retained jockey rides.
Speaking at his Newmarket yard yesterday, Noseda said: "I hope very much that Frankie will take the ride, but it will depend on what Godolphin are doing. If they make it possible for him to ride, he will then have to make a decision between us or Ouija Board. But there is no shortage of jockeys and plenty of people have asked."
Sixties Icon is now the 5-4 favourite with the sponsors, Ladbrokes, after some high-profile defections in recent days. "I have thought for a long time that he will get a mile and six furlongs well," Noseda said. "He is a progressive horse and can only get better. He has done most of his racing on fast ground, but he has also shown he is effective on good to soft.
"After he won his maiden my plan was a handicap at Royal Ascot, but the owner wanted to go for the Derby, so we did. That race can make or break a horse and it made him. It turned him into much more of a professional and really educated him."
The prospect of a first British Classic success for Noseda, who first attended the Leger in 1974 to witness Bustino's triumph, is really whetting his appetite. "English Classics are the greatest races in the world, and would be worth five French Classics," he said. "I am an Englishman and these Classics are the greatest traditions in the world."
One top-level event that looks likely to elude Noseda this year is Saturday's Group One Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock as his Soldier's Tale will not now run.
Noseda had planned to give the son of Stravinsky his first run for 422 days in Saturday's £300,000 showpiece but a setback has ruled him out just three days before the big race.
"I would hope that we can look towards running him in either the Diadem Stakes [24 September] or Prix de la Forêt [30 September]," he said.
Noseda also has recent Summer Stakes winner La Chunga engaged in the six-furlong event but her participation hinges on the state of the going. "Unless we have a heatwave and the ground conditions change before Saturday, La Chunga will not run at Haydock."
The trainer has handed Mick Kinane the plum ride on Araafa in Sunday's Prix du Moulin at Longchamp. Alan Munro has partnered the three-year-old on each of his four outings this season but he is currently out of action and the stable has turned to Kinane, who finished sixth on the colt in a Group Three race last year.
The stable's leading juvenile filly, Sander Camillo, will have her final race this year in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on 29 September. "I'd love to take her to the Breeders' Cup, but the Guineas is more important so she won't go to America," Noseda said.
Nap: Rose Of Inchinor
NB: Neon Blue
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