herald

Thursday 23 November 2017

Frankie is ready for Oaks return

Frankie Dettori hopes to be back in action for the Irish Oaks on Saturday.
Frankie Dettori hopes to be back in action for the Irish Oaks on Saturday.

Frankie Dettori, who has been out of action since Royal Ascot due to a shoulder injury, is set to return at Newmarket on Thursday in preparation for the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Saturday.

The Italian is set to be onboard the likely odds-on favourite for the fourth Irish Classic of the season next weekend when John Gosden sends over Epsom Oaks heroine Enable in a bid to become the latest filly to do the Epsom/Curragh double and the first since Snow Fairy in 2010.

After a short holiday, Dettori was back riding out last week, with Thursday his target for a return to racing, and he is naturally looking forward to getting back on Enable who is a three-time winner from just four starts.

"I'll be back on Thursday and fingers crossed it should be all systems go for the Curragh on Saturday," Dettori said.

Obvious

"She's a lovely mare, she won a Classic by five lengths and the obvious choice of race was the Irish Oaks.

"I've been away but I've heard she has been going well and training well so I'm looking forward to it."

Dettori's most recent ride was aboard the John Gosden-trained Shutter Speed just two days prior to the start of Royal Ascot last month.

But the injury he sustained in a paddock fall in the middle of June forced him to stand himself down on the morning of Royal Ascot's first day and also miss out on riding Epsom Derby runner-up Cracksman in the Irish Derby.

Gosden is hoping that there's still more improvement to come from his latest Classic winner.

"She has run at Newcastle, Newbury, Chester and Epsom so just four races and hopefully she is still improving," Gosden told the Herald.

"I believe she is in good form, we have freshened her up since Epsom and the plan was always to go to the Curragh from there. She is obviously favourite at the moment so hopefully we can go back to the Curragh with a solid chance."

Aidan O'Brien's hopes of completing the full deck of Irish Classics this season will rely on last weekend's Pretty Polly Stakes runner-up, Rain Goddess and Alluringly, who was second to Enable at Chester in May.

Speaking to the Herald yesterday, O'Brien said: "We will take another look this week but Rain Goddess appears to have come out of her Curragh run in good form and we would be thinking she can go back to the Irish Oaks.

"The Pretty Polly was her first race over 10-furlongs and we are hopeful that she can get a mile and a half at the Curragh. Alluringly could also go for the Irish Oaks also."

Meanwhile, the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes remains the big target for Almanzor despite a interrupted year.

Leopardstown can look forward to welcoming back last year's French-trained winner after trainer Jean-Claude Rouget admitted this weekend that an intended seasonal return at York this week has been shelved but Leopardstown in September remains on the agenda.

The trainer said; "He had the problems linked with the virus-infected barn and also one or two physical issues. I really am a long way behind with his preparation.

"Because of that I am no longer thinking of the end of July for his first run but rather the Prix Gontaut-Biron on August 15."

Festival

Jockey Barry Geraghty is eyeing a return for the Galway Festival starting later this month.

Geraghty has been sidelined since breaking his arm in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday when taking a fall from Minella Foru.

But after a recent visit to the Santry Sports Clinic, Dr Adrian McGoldrick expects Geraghty to be back for the mid summer highlight.

Geraghty's boss, JP McManus, saw his colours carried to victory yesterday at his local track when Rock On Fruity won the Galway Plate Trial for Charles Byrnes.

The 7/1 shot propelled himself into possible contention for the Galway Festival but the winning trainer earmarked the Midlands National at Kilbeggan prior to that.

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