Frankie Dettori back next week
Frankie Dettori took a major step towards a return to competitive action when riding out for Jeremy Noseda in Newmarket.
By Will Hayler
Last Updated: 14/01/14 4:47pm
The Italian put in a surprise appearance on Warren Hill when riding smart gelding Consign in Noseda's second lot and left Shalfleet stable buzzing with excitement ahead of his comeback.
Dettori has been on the sidelines since fracturing his ankle in a freak fall at Nottingham early in October, days before he was due to partner Treve in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
The filly's impressive victory rubbed only further salt into Dettori's wounds, but he does at least have the consolation of knowing that he will be back to resume his partnership with Treve this season, as well as a host of other top-class horses owned by Sheikh Johann Al Thani's Al Shaqab racing operation.
After riding work, Dettori was straight on the phone to Al Shaqab's recently-appointed racing advisor Harry Herbert.
"He was wonderfully upbeat and delighted to be back in action," Herbert told Skysports.com. "I think the plan is for him to have his first race back on the All-Weather for Jeremy next week and he can't wait. It's great to hear the enthusiasm in his voice.
"His next job is to come with me to South-West France for a couple of days where we'll have a look at all of the Al Shaqab horses that are based there and get an early feel as to where we're going with them this year.
"Just as he was doing last year before the injury, Frankie will be doing a bit of travelling to France when he needs to if one of the Al Shaqab horses is in action, but he'll also be looking to pick up as many rides as he can in Britain."
However, it may take some time for Dettori to be back on board one of the owner's marquee horses, with none of the likes of Olympic Glory, Toronado or Treve set to return to action until the turf season is more fully underway.
"We have one possible runner in the Dubai Carnival and that's Mshawish, trained by Mikel Delzangles, who was fourth in the St James's Palace Stakes last year," Herbert went on.
"He's due to run there later this week and could then go for a Group Two at Doha in Qatar, and if he won we might look for a race on World Cup day, but most of the other big names won't be back for a while yet, as we're concentrating upon races later in the year.
"In fact, the vast majority of the Al Shaqab horses are two and three-year-olds, so it's very much an operation that has the future in mind and with three or four notable exceptions, I think it could be next year that things really take off.
"We've got about 30-35 two-year-olds, including a number with Richard Hannon, but others with Luca Cumani, Richard Fahey, Marco Botti and in France, and there are some really exciting types among them, including some possible early ones that might be Royal Ascot horses."