Racing: Dettori Irish ban remains

FRANKIE DETTORI will have 10 days over the next two weeks to ponder just how much a minor alteration to his equipment may have cost him. Dettori travelled to Ireland yesterday to appeal against a total of 12 days' suspension imposed by stewards at The Curragh last month, but managed to talk his way out of only two. The most contentious part of his ban, seven days for wearing a defective back protector, was upheld.

The stewards, and more precisely Dr Walter Halley, the Irish Turf Club's medical officer, objected to Dettori riding with a flap connecting the front and back portions of his body protector removed. The Italian has been riding without the flap for about two years, having removed it to ease a problem with haemorrhoids, and has used it without any problems not just in Britain and Ireland, but most other major racing countries too.

Evidence was given on his behalf at yesterday's hearing by Halley's counterpart in Britain, Dr Michael Turner. It was to no avail, however, and Dettori will now sit out the last two days of this week's July meeting at Newmarket, including the mount on Cape Verdi in tomorrow's Falmouth Stakes, as well as Saturday's John Smith's Cup at York and the Irish Oaks at The Curragh. His total ban is from 7 to 15 July inclusive, and 17 July.

Dettori's only minor success yesterday was in reducing a five-day ban for improper riding on Altibr in the Group Two International Stakes. The suspension was reduced to three days.

Dettori was represented at yesterday's hearing by Andrew Coonan, a solicitor and the secretary of the Irish Jockeys' Association. "We're very disappointed, we didn't think that Frankie had infringed the relevant rule," Coonan said, while Dettori added that "we're considering our options." When asked whether any further options were in fact available, Peter Burrell, Dettori's commercial agent, said that "from a legal angle there could be, but that's all I can say at the moment."

Punters who have lost a small fortune backing Killer Instinct over the past few months will have probably their last chance to get their money back on Saturday, when Henry Cecil's colt runs in the John Smith's Cup at York. A talking horse throughout the spring, Killer Instinct has twice been beaten at odds-on this year, but he finished fourth in the St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot last time out, form which gives him a favourite's chance with just 8st 8lb to carry on Saturday.

A total of 33 horses were pulled out yesterday, possibly frightened off by Killer Instinct, who is quoted at just 2-1 with the Tote, and 3-1 by Coral. Given his past record as the backers' enemy, though, many will look to oppose him, and Siege, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, will also be popular at around 7-1. Pasternak, the winner of the race two years ago, is another prominent name in the betting at a top price of 6-1 with Victor Chandler.

Aidan O'Brien said yesterday that Stravinsky will be his principal contender for the feature race of the July meeting, the July Cup over six furlongs on Thursday. "I have four entered, but Stravinsky will be the No 1 choice," he said. "It is possible that I might run one of the other three, Lavery, Orpen or Bianconi, as well."

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