Frankie Dettori relieved after his 'sweet' comeback victory

 

After a quiet start to his new career as a freelance, Frankie Dettori last night restored sunshine to his life even as the shadows lengthened at Sandown. Having drawn a blank since returning at Epsom last Friday, the jockey won a sprint handicap on Asian Trader – and promptly treated his fans to a flying dismount. But there was no mistaking the wry, sober look that preceded his trademark celebration, nor the relief with which he had raised a grateful forefinger as he was cheered into the winner's enclosure.

Dettori's 2,822nd winner in Britain may well mean as much to him as the first, almost exactly 26 years previously. Since riding Lizzie Hare at Goodwood, on 9 June 1987, he has become arguably the world's most accomplished jockey. But he finds himself at a crossroads, after serving a six-month suspension for testing positive to cocaine at Longchamp last September. Having meanwhile parted company with Godolphin, after an 18-year association, Dettori, 42, must now carve out a new niche for himself.

"Look, I've ridden 3,000 winners, but everyone is waiting for this one," he said. "The first winner is always sweet, and I've had plenty of practice these last six days. Today I knew I had live chances, and one of them has won."

It is notoriously difficult for jockeys to retrieve mental and physical sharpness in the first days following a prolonged lay-off, and Dettori will remain in need of match practice before Royal Ascot starts on Tuesday week. But last night's success served as a vital boost to the confidence of a jockey who has always thrived on the self-fulfilling buzz of riding winners. It was an alert ride. Asian Trader, trained by William Haggas, missed the break and Dettori was forced to bide his time on the rail, but pounced hungrily when a gap appeared and drove his mount out for a narrow success.

Afterwards, for the first time since his return, he set himself a target for the rest of the season. "I'm not aiming high, but I'd like to win 100 races now," he said. "I've plenty of rides coming up, including 10 on Saturday."

Another of the modern Turf's high achievers, Dermot Weld, is meanwhile pushing the boundaries once again as he makes his own Ascot preparations. For after bypassing a warm-up at Leopardstown tonight, he must now try to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot with a nine-year-old whose entire Flat career will still comprise only five starts.

If any trainer can do it, Weld can. When he won at Ascot last autumn, Rite Of Passage had not been seen in 17 months. Moreover, he had previously won the 2010 Gold Cup with a Flat CV consisting of a Ballinrobe maiden and a Leopardstown handicap.

Weld opted to sit out a return to Leopardstown on account of going that could yet rule Rite Of Passage, 5-1 favourite with Coral, out of the Gold Cup as well. "If the ground did happen to come up on the firm side at Ascot, I'd have to say he would be a doubtful runner," he admitted. "This is a horse that has broken down twice. It will always be a day-to-day with him."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Mankini (5.30 Newmarket) Showed ability in qualifying for a low mark in maidens and – with his classy pedigree in mind, as a son of Dansili out of an Italian Oaks winner – can find due improvement at this longer trip.

Next best

Duke Of Perth (8.05 Pontefract) Similar type for the same stable, just caught out by a steady gallop at Salisbury and is likely to relish this stiff track.

One to watch

Karaka Jack (David Nicholls) Continues to thrive, tanking along when short of room and so giving the neck winner a crucial start at Musselburgh on Saturday.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution