Racing: Dettori keeps his distance in title race

The first race at York yesterday could almost have been the season in microcosm: Frankie Dettori and Saeed bin Suroor ganging up to defeat Kieren Fallon. Dettori went into the day seven ahead of the man whose title he is trying to wrest away, and immediately made it one more on his retaining stable's Maidanni at the expense of Fallon's mount, Aylmer Road, a close but comfortably held second.

It was the 102nd winner of the season for Bin Suroor, and his 50th in the two-year-old division for the Dubaian, who has never even made a half-century before in the 10 years he has held a licence in Britain. The difference this year is that he has had charge of his largest-ever string, including a full complement of juveniles, as Sheikh Moham-med has expanded the remit of his Godolphin operation. Maidanni was the 64th winner he supplied for Dettori.

Bin Suroor, 37 today, already has his fourth championship wrapped up; he became the first man to top the £4m prize-money barrier when Refuse To Bend ran third in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 15 days ago. The intention is to keep the runners flowing through the final month of the season to help get his man home to his third title after a gap of nine years.

By the end of the afternoon Dettori had notched a treble and he remained 10 clear after both he and Fallon rode a winner at Wolverhampton last night. Ian Williams became the 49th trainer for whom he has scored this term when The Prince turned York's nine-furlong handicap into a rout to make it six out of seven for the season. The gelding, still upwardly mobile at the age of 10, has had his self-esteem boosted by competing in lowly company. "Running in claimers has given him so much confidence," said Williams, "He's enjoying his racing again."

Dettori had not ridden The Prince since finishing fifth on him in a Listed race on the same track four years ago. "He ran away with me going to the start then and again in the race," he said, "so I think I've been avoiding him since. But he was fine today and did it all for me." The Italian has cultivated a more lasting relationship with Jonny Ebeneezer, who caught Talbot Avenue - ridden by the hapless Fallon - in the final half-dozen strides of the afternoon's feature, the Coral Sprint Trophy.

Jonny Ebeneezer, useful two years ago, has scrambled back up off the scrapheap since joining trainer David Flood in June on a plater's mark of just 51. The five-year-old's rating since then has risen 45lb and yesterday's half-length victory, at 13-2, was the fourth of seven along the way in which he had his favourite jockey in the saddle. "I love this horse," reciprocated Dettori. "He is a bit quirky but has tremendous ability and I think he likes me, which is half the battle. David has done a tremendous job in keeping him in love with the game, which is the other half."

A sprinter of a different class, Somnus, swooped fast and late on the soft ground he enjoys to take the afternoon's Group One prize, the Prix de la Forêt, at Longchamp. It was the second win of the season in France for the Tim Easterby four-year-old, after the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in August. Between times the gelding was touched off by inches in the Haydock sprint, and yesterday's effort under Mick Kinane, in which he beat local filly Denebola by three-quarters of a length, may be enough to secure him the divisional championship in a weak year. The other British raiders, Le Vie Dei Colori, Monsieur Bond, Pastoral Pursuits and Nayyir, finished third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

The rest of the Flat season will be enlivened by the tussle for the title, but this afternoon in Ireland there will be a significant reminder of the nascent jumps season with the reappearance of Beef Or Salmon, a horse who, if all remains well with him physically, could be one of the few who could take a shot at Best Mate. The Michael Hourigan-trained eight-year-old, whose talent has been compromised by back problems, will carry top-weight against eight rivals in the Munster National. Shortly afterwards at the Curragh, the high-class hurdler Solerina takes on 20 rivals on the Flat in the Irish Cesarewitch.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable