Racing: Dettori's ban will not halt Sha Tin finale

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The Independent Online

For Frankie Dettori a one-month ban from riding could not have come at a better time. The suspension, an unfriendly farewell gesture from the stewards of the Racing Victoria Turf Club because of their visitor's careless riding in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, will commence at midnight on Saturday. That will be around five hours after the final meeting of the year that counts towards the Flat jockeys' championship. Dettori can spend the following month basking in the reclamation of his crown and reflecting on a job well done.

For Frankie Dettori a one-month ban from riding could not have come at a better time. The suspension, an unfriendly farewell gesture from the stewards of the Racing Victoria Turf Club because of their visitor's careless riding in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, will commence at midnight on Saturday. That will be around five hours after the final meeting of the year that counts towards the Flat jockeys' championship. Dettori can spend the following month basking in the reclamation of his crown and reflecting on a job well done.

Dettori pleaded guilty to careless riding on Godolphin's Mamool in the big one at Flemington, having shifted his mount to the outside of the field, a move which prevented sixth-placed Distinction from advancing on the eventual winner, Makybe Diva. Distinction, like Mamool, had come all the way from Suffolk to be stopped in his tracks in the "race that stops the nation" as he is trained by Sir Michael Stoute at Newmarket but ridden by Darren Beadman rather than Kieren Fallon.

"If it hadn't been for your good record and guilty plea the ban may well have been more severe," the Racing Victoria chief steward, Des Gleeson, is reported to have told Dettori.

"I thought the interference was minimal, but I did make a mistake," Dettori admitted.

The timing of the ban means that Dettori can compete for the final time on British turf this year at Doncaster on Saturday but not in the Japan Cup in Tokyo on 28 November. He will, however, be able to ride in the very valuable International series of races at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, on 12 December.

There will be a rather more serious interruption to the career of the talented apprentice Robert Miles, whose positive drugs test for cocaine at Salisbury on 29 September has been confirmed by the Jockey Club. The Epsom-based rider now faces the prospect of a long suspension if the finding is upheld by the Jockey Club's disciplinary panel.

Miles, 22, has ridden 35 winners this year, including the Chester Vase on Red Lancer. He is the fourth rider to have tested positive for the drug since the Jockey Club's testing policy was introduced in October, 1994.

The apprentice Philip Shea, despite claiming mitigating circumstances as the victim of a spiked drink, was given a six-month ban in October 2000; Dean Gallagher, having served a six-month ban from French authorities, was given an 18-month suspension for a second offence - this time in Britain - in November 2002; and Francis Norton was given a four-month ban in December last year.

There will also be an unfortunate absence for Jim Culloty, who looks likely to miss Best Mate's seasonal return after breaking a bone in his thumb in a fall at Exeter on Tuesday. The jockey had a plate inserted in his hand on Tuesday night and is expected to be out of action until Christmas.

That means Henrietta Knight will need to find a jockey for her stable star should Best Mate run at Exeter on 19 November.

Culloty's agent, Chris Broad, said: "When they operated they had to put a plate in because a bit of bone had come away. A horse had trod on his hand and he had an open wound. They were going to pin it but when they operated they found it wasn't as straightforward as hoped."

The only other rider to have partnered Best Mate in his 19 career outings is Tony McCoy, who finished second on him to Florida Pearl in the 2001 King George VI Chase before going one better the following year when they beat Marlborough.

* Plans are under way for a floodlit all-weather track at Musselburgh with officials at the course hoping the £10m project will be ready for January 2006.

* Sendintank is the new favourite for Saturday's November Stakes at Doncaster after recording his ninth success of the year at Musselburgh yesterday for which he picks up a 4lb penalty for Doncaster.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

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