Frankie Dettori strikes deal to ride for Sheikh Joaan

Frankie Dettori: New venture. Picture: PA
Frankie Dettori: New venture. Picture: PA
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Frankie Dettori can look forward to riding a host of star names for the remainder of this season and beyond after being appointed retained rider to owner Sheikh Joaan Al Thani, who has rapidly emerged as a powerful figure on the Euro-pean racing scene.

Sheikh Joaan numbers the likes of St James’s Palace Stakes runner-up Toronado, Group 1 winner Olympic Glory, French 2,000 Guineas victor Style Vendome and top-class middle-distance performer Planteur among his horses.

While Richard Hughes will keep the ride on those trained by Richard Hannon, including Toronado and Olympic Glory, Dettori will be linking up with the Marco Botti-trained Planteur, for whom the big target at the end of the season is likely to be the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Botti said: “Frankie has been riding for us recently and he rode Planteur when he ran in Hong Kong a few years ago. It is good news he has signed a contract to ride for Sheikh Joaan, it is very exciting and it will be great to have Frankie as part of the team.”

Dettori, whose long and successful partnership with Godolphin came to end last autumn, is delighted to have his new position confirmed.

He said: “I’m thrilled to have taken a job for an outstanding new owner and I’m looking forward to the association. I went over to Chantilly and had a nice meeting with Sheikh Joann. We’ve started an agreement and I’m looking forward to this new venture for me. It’s a good opportunity for me to get back in the big league.”

Confirming the news Hughes would keep the ride of Toronado, who is bound for the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, assistant trainer Richard Hannon jnr told “We have been told that Hughesie rides Toronado in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, which is great news, and I am pleased with the arrangement.”

Dettori has already ridden for Sheikh Joaan, notably partnering the Mikel Delzangles-trained Mshawish and Richard Fahey’s Sandiva at Royal Ascot.