Racing: Dettori and Carson banned

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The Independent Online
If Michael Howard thought he was the only person who spent the weekend struggling with questions of sentencing policy, he may take some reassurance from the puzzled frowns which followed the appearance of Lanfranco Dettori and Willie Carson in front of the stewards at Deauville yesterday afternoon.

Both riders were banned for four days, and their mounts disqualified from second and first place respectively during an extraordinary postscript to the Prix de la Nonette. Bint Salsabil and Bint Shadayid, both trained in Britain, were the horses who lost out, with Andre Fabre's Luna Wells, third past the post, promoted to first. Initially, this appeared to be the sort of home-town decision which might allow the French stewards to moonlight as assistant referees at Old Trafford, but subsequent study of the closing stages showed that Dettori's whip struck Luna Wells's face at least twice, although Carson may have been unfortunate to share the blame when the officials decided that his mount had wandered from a true line.

John Dunlop, trainer of the "winner", Bint Salsabil, said that he would consider an appeal against the decision. It will come as a relief to Dettori that bans incurred abroad do not count towards the Jockey Club's new totting- up system.

Under this procedure, a jockey will be banned for a fortnight for his first riding offence after an infringement which has taken his total for the year to 12 days.

Dettori may miss the Group One Sprint Cup at Haydock on 7 September, though last night the Jockey Club was uncertain whether his latest ban, due to start on 3 September, will in fact begin on 4 September because Dettori will already be serving the last day of a suspension picked up at York last week.

The furore in France yesterday somewhat overshadowed the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood, but in the long term, Red Camellia's deeply impressive victory may prove to have been the day's most significant moment.

Before Pivotal's success in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York last week, Sir Mark Prescott had waited 25 years for a Group One winner, but the trainer must now hope that, in accordance with the buses principle, two or three will come along at once.

Prescott's filly is now the 10-1 second-favourite for the 1997 1,000 Guineas, while the Fillies' Mile at Ascot later this month may provide Prescott with an even earlier chance to double his tally at the sport's highest level.

Strategic Choice, too, has an important appointment this autumn after his victory in the Grand Prix de Deauville yesterday. Paul Cole's five- year-old, who gave the trainer his fourth success in the Group Two event in the last nine years, will not race again until the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on 6 October.

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