Derby vanishing trick for Magician


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The Independent Online

As one Magician appeared to drop out of the Investec Derby, another was clinging to the hope that bureaucratic conjuring could yet enable him to make a theatrical reappearance in the race. The return of Frankie Dettori's licence in time to ride at Epsom on Saturday remains contingent on procedural acceleration in France, where his final test results are expected today – and also on exceptional latitude from the British Horseracing Authority.

The BHA reiterated its willingness to expedite the issue of Dettori's British licence, as soon as its French counterparts advise that he has satisfied their own criteria – something they hope to be able to do "before the weekend". It remains possible Dettori could even supplant jockeys nominated at the final declaration stage. That could conceivably apply, should the timetable of events permit, even to the Oaks card at Epsom tomorrow.

On the face of it, the likely absence of Magician reduces Dettori's chances of a Derby mount from Aidan O'Brien. The impressive winner of the Irish 2,000 Guineas last Saturday last night dropped out of the Ballydoyle reckoning, to be given more time before a likely run at Royal Ascot. But O'Brien still has five other Derby acceptors. If all are declared – and they were still being described as "intended" runners, Dettori could yet pick up a ride.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Topamichi (3.20 Lingfield) Looks ahead of the game, only just remaining eligible for this grade after pulling four lengths clear of the pack against a well handicapped rival at Redcar last time.

Next best

Bright Glow (5.20 Lingfield) Caught out by the drop in trip when hampered early on her last visit here, storming through from last to second in the straight, and will be hard to stop off the same handicap mark back at seven furlongs.

One to watch

York Glory (Kevin Ryan) Relished the drop to five furlongs when second at York last Saturday, travelling powerfully throughout, and might well have won with a clear run.