Racing: Dettori takes Snow Ridge to conquer Everest

It was 6.06 yesterday morning as the Godolphin Classic beasts first stepped on to the old turf of Newmarket's Trial Ground gallop. Like all good fleet, fighting machines, they soon swept by out of a low sun.

It was 6.06 yesterday morning as the Godolphin Classic beasts first stepped on to the old turf of Newmarket's Trial Ground gallop. Like all good fleet, fighting machines, they soon swept by out of a low sun.

Sheikh Mohammed, aboard his grey endurance hack, liked what he saw. He liked Snow Ridge, Punctilious and Sundrop. "We will be there [Epsom] with a big fight," he told the minions on the ground. Then, like all good horsemen, he rode off into the distance.

The prospect of Dubai's crown prince departing his sport is less easily to visualise. He remains emotionally captured by racing. "I was born on a horse," he said. "I love being around the horse. He can feel you and he can understand you. We learn a lot from animals during our life."

Sheikh Mohammed hopes most that when he reads Snow Ridge's next report, it will discuss his success in the Derby, a week on Saturday. The Blue Riband is the only domestic Classic without the Godolphin blue on it. Lammtarra technically did it for the team in 1995, but he ran in the livery of Sheikh Mohammed's nephew, Saeed Maktoum Al Maktoum. Now it is down to Snow Ridge to plant a stake in the ground.

"We will win it," the Sheikh said. "Just to see your horse run well in the race is a pleasure. You get 20,000 yearlings that want to win the Derby. It is a big race and we are there with a big fight. This is a very kind horse when you go in the box. But, when he runs, he's a competitor."

Yet there are reservations about Snow Ridge. He is not Godolphin's best prospect to run in the Derby since Lammtarra. Cape Verdi (1998) and Dubai Millennium the following year earn that nomination. Connections believe that 10 furlongs is the colt's best trip and they are already talking about the horse's four-year-old career.

There seemed to be greater enthusiasm about the Oaks fillies as Sheikh Mohammed later held court outside the splendid Godolphin Stables (until recently the historic Stanley House). The Hon F A Stanley, the 16th Earl of Derby, will perhaps not view the name change kindly through his binoculars from the clouds.

Great emphasis was placed on the fact that Frankie Dettori chose to ride Punctilious, the favourite of trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, in her gallop with Opera Comique. The big filly, the Musidora Stakes winner, came pounding past, her nosebanded head to one side, looking for all the world like Allez France. Sundrop was less conclusive in company with New South Wales.

Punctilious was cut to 7-2 from 5-1 with Coral following suggestions that Dettori would continue the partnership. His post-gallop inquisitors must have been more brutal than the press team which later cornered the Italian outside the Bedford Lodge Hotel on the Bury Road.

Dettori, on his first morning back after breaking a finger at Goodwood, said he had no idea which of the fillies he would ride. He was more purposeful about his own attitude to a sport which was beginning to chew him around last year. Word was that his application had gone.

"I've been a bit easy the last few years, and it was time to come back," Dettori said. "A few people upset me last year and I just wanted to prove them wrong. I had a good end to the season and I just carried on from that. I'm enjoying my racing. It's the only thing I'm good at."

Now that Dettori has answered the commitment question, he must tackle one of the few big races to have eluded him. He needs the Blue Riband. "I've ridden some great champions in the Derby, but it didn't take Einstein to work out that Dubai Millennium wouldn't stay a mile and a half. Cape Verdi, a filly against the colts, she had a mountain to climb too," he said. "This is the first serious live contender that I've had. Snow Ridge looks a serious chance.

"The mountain is getting bigger and bigger every year. I don't think Everest is big enough. I feel it more than any other race in the world. The Derby is unique. I'm beginning to feel the nerves now when I go to bed. I'm already thinking of the race. It's important for me because it would complete my career's ambition. It would fulfil my dreams. That would be the last piece in the puzzle for my career as a jockey."

DERBY (Epsom, 5 June), Coral: 9-4 Yeats, 100-30 Snow Ridge, 4-1 North Light, 10-1 American Post, 12-1 Salford City, 14-1 Rule Of Law, Let The Lion Roar, Percussionist, 16-1 Meath, 25-1 Cairdeas, 33-1 others.

OAKS (Epsom, 4 June), Coral: 9-4 Sundrop, 7-2 (from 5-1) Punctilious, 5-1 Ouija Board, 6-1 All Too Beautiful, 12-1 Baraka, Hathrah, 16-1 Necklace, Alexander Goldrun, 25-1 Menhoubah, 33-1 others.

Suggested Topics
Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior DBA (SQL Server, T-SQL, SSIS, SSAS) London - Finance

£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior DBA (SQ...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Senior Project Manager

£60000 - £90000 per annum + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Global leading Energy Tra...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment