Racing: Dettori's treble puts wind up Fallon backers

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The Independent Online
Frankie Dettori decided yesterday that he will not appeal against the suspension he incurred for irresponsible riding at Goodwood on Saturday, but if he continues to ride as he did at Chepstow's Bank Holiday meeting, a mere five-day holiday will make little difference to his attempt to reclaim the jockeys' championship.

Dettori rode three winners while Kieren Fallon, his main rival, partnered just one at Newcastle, and this after an overnight trip from Chicago, where Dettori had finished unplaced in the Arlington Million less than 16 hours before he was due in Wales.

Dettori's trip to the Windy City was a fruitless one, but the race proved far more satisfactory for Michael Tabor, whose colours were carried to victory by Marlin. The owner clearly had an inkling that his runner might prevail, for at almost the precise moment Marlin crossed the line, an auctioneer at the Deauville Sales knocked down a yearling colt by Fairy King to Tabor's clinching bid of FF3.1m (pounds 315,000), the most expensive lot of the session. Such is Tabor's winning streak at present that it will almost be a surprise if the colt, named Lucky Legend, fails to win a Classic in 1999.

Of more immediate concern, however, is the 1997 Flat jockeys' championship, which shows every sign of running all the way to the final fixtures of the season. The most significant development yesterday was probably the five-day suspension handed to Pat Eddery by the stewards at Ripon, which surely ended any lingering hopes that the Irishman might have had of defending his title.

Eddery dropped his hands on Jazz Track, hot favourite for the Grassington Maiden Stakes, and was narrowly beaten into third place by Carisbrooke, thereby consigning numerous dual and computer straight forecast tickets to the litter bin. He was rightly suspended from 3 to 8 September, missing the Sprint Cup meeting at Haydock in the process, making it a poor day's work for Eddery despite his easy win on Arkadian Hero (yet another in the Tabor silks) in the pounds 20,000 Champion Two-Year-Old Trophy Stakes.

Dettori, who was level with Fallon on 121 winners yesterday morning, would like to take a reasonable lead into his own five-day break, and is now two clear after his treble at Chepstow, which included victory on Bin Rose in the Frankie Dettori Ton-Up Stakes.

The race has been run since 1990 to commemorate Dettori's achievement in becoming the first rider for 35 years to ride 100 winners in a season as a teenager. "I'm usually somewhere else," the jockey said, "but I made a special journey all the way from Arlington to get here."

Fallon rode just a single winner, Golden Dice, at Newcastle, but it could easily have been a double, as his storming run on Delilah in the Listed fillies' handicap failed by a millimetre or so to carry him past Sarayir, the favourite.

The afternoon's events were enough to persuade the Tote to cut Dettori's odds for the jockey's title, though whether it was quite necessary to hack him back to 1-4 (from 4-7) simply for opening up a two-winner gap must be open to doubt. With the odds likely to see-saw at least once more before the end of the season, now might be a good time to step in for Fallon at 5-2 (from 5-4), in the hope of closing out with a certain profit at some point in the coming weeks. Eddery, meanwhile, is 33-1 from 16- 1.

The top professional riders were scattered around the country, but it was the amateurs who contested the feature race at Epsom, the Moet & Chandon Silver Magnum, the owners' memento for which is destined for the mantlepiece at Buckingham Palace for the second year running. Like last year's winner Arabian Story, Shaft Of Light, the 3-1 favourite, was trained by Lord Huntingdon and owned by the Queen, but his rider was Andrew Balding, a late replacement for the winning jockey 12 months ago, Luis Urbano.

Balding had been due to partner Brandon Magic for his father, Ian, but switched to Shaft Of Light when Urbano broke his collar-bone. "With Shaft Of Light carrying 8lb more than Brandon Magic, it meant I could enjoy the weekend without having to sweat," Balding said afterwards, though given the sticky conditions, he was surely one of the few people in Britain who could.