Dettori ruled out of Emily Upjohn Coral-Eclipse ride after failed appeal
Frankie Dettori will miss the ride on Coral-Eclipse favourite Emily Upjohn at Sandown after failing in his appeal against the nine-day careless riding ban imposed for his ride on Saga at Royal Ascot.
Dettori attempted to switch right-handed towards the rail in the early stages of the Wolferton Stakes and in doing so caused James McDonald to quickly snatch up Cadillac. Certain Lad and Notre Belle Bete, who were behind Cadillac, were also hampered in the scrimmaging.
Owned by the King and Queen and trained by John and Thady Gosden, Saga eventually finished fifth in the 10-furlong Listed event, which was won by Royal Champion.
An independent disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority considered evidence from all relevant parties, including Dettori, and elected to uphold the careless riding offence originally decided upon by stewards on the first day of Royal Ascot.
The panel then retired to deliberate over submissions from Dettori’s legal representative seeking a reduction in the penalty, but ultimately decided that nine days was appropriate and made no amendment to the sanction.
The BHA, who called Rob Hornby, rider of Foxes Tales, as a witness, made the case that Dettori had been unaware of the presence of Cadillac on his inside when riding towards the rail on the first bend of the race.
Charlotte Davison, representing the BHA, pressed Dettori on whether or not he would have made the manoeuvre had he spotted his horse on the inside, to which Dettori repeated he was “surprised” that McDonald had taken that line.
Davison put forward that Hornby and McDonald were both entitled to move towards the rail as they did, as no orange markers had been deployed to prevent it, and that it was Dettori’s carelessness with regards to his surroundings that had caused the incident.
Rory Mac Neice, representing Dettori, argued the jockey had positioned himself to account for the false rail and that the incident was set in motion by McDonald riding into a gap that would inevitably close when the rail came into play.
Dettori ‘should have been aware’ of rival
Mac Neice agreed that riders were entitled to track across to the inside rail as soon as the race began, but said that in doing so Saga was left short of room and unsettled, causing Dettori to seek cover – at which point he submitted that McDonald had ridden into the gap left on the rail, a gap he described as a “cul-de-sac”.
That act “sandwiched” Dettori, Mac Neice argued, and though he was aware of the horses surrounding him, he was in a “no-man’s land” and unable to prevent the incident.
After several hours of listening to each party and their submissions and evidence, the panel confirmed it found the careless riding rule had been breached.
They then considered any change to the penalty imposed after further submissions on either side, but again returned to say they were adhering to the original findings of the stewards on the day and that the nine-day penalty had not been reduced.
James O’Mahony, chair of the panel, said: “Coming to our conclusions, firstly it is clear, and as Mr Dettori has accepted, that he did move laterally right. He said to get cover, and we do find that his lateral movement right was connected with the interference as a matter of cause and effect.
“Secondly, he couldn’t and shouldn’t have moved right if he was aware of the presence of Mr McDonald as he was not clear. He says he was not aware of the presence of Mr McDonald, our conclusion is that he should have been aware.
“It may have come as a surprise to him that Mr McDonald would take that course, and maybe with his experience Mr Dettori wouldn’t have taken that course so close to the rail, but there it is – he did and he was there.
“We have carefully assessed the relevance and question of to what extent, if any, there was pressure on Mr Dettori from the outside, from the presence of other horses, in particular Rob Hornby’s mount.
“We have carefully sifted and worked through the evidence of Mr Hornby and Mr Dettori and our clear conclusion on balance of probabilities is that there were no significant problems in relation to the presence of other horses.
“In our judgement, on the balance of probabilities, Mr Dettori was in breach of the rule preventing careless riding and this appeal, as far as that matter is concerned, is refused.”
Dettori’s dates of suspension are July 4-12, while he will also be out of action from July 13 after picking up an eight-day whip ban for his ride on Queen Anne runner-up Inspiral, which sees him miss the July meeting at Newmarket.
Winner of the Coronation Cup at Epsom, Emily Upjohn is odds-on with sponsors Coral for the Eclipse, which takes place on July 8.