Fall guy Frankie still has Desire for Derby hat-trick
It wasn’t the kind of preparation Frankie Dettori was hoping for ahead of Saturday’s Derby at Epsom.
Dettori rides favourite Wings Of Desire in the £750,000 showpiece, but the Italian’s tumble from Magillen after finishing second to Rodaini in the EBF Maiden Stakes — the second race — at Leicester yesterday saw the meeting abandoned due to ground on the home bend being deemed unsafe.
Magillen slipped after the winning line on the bend and came down.
Both the horse and Dettori — who is chasing a Derby hat-trick after last year’s win on Golden Horn which followed on from his 2007 triumph on Authorized — emerged from the incident unscathed.
But following an inspection of the track the decision was taken to call racing off.
Clerk of the course Jimmy Stevenson said: “The jockeys were unhappy about the pulling up area after the line following the second race.
“We inspected the track and there was a slippy patch of ground just after the line.
“We proposed putting the remaining races back by 30 minutes to give the rain time to get into the ground, but the jockeys said they still wouldn’t be confident and at that point we had no choice but to abandon.
“It’s a bit of a nightmare scenario, the rain coming when it did.
“We could have had 30mm overnight and raced, but a little shower after racing starts and we find ourselves in this position,” he added.
Deauville and Idaho were the Derby market movers yesterday as heavy rain fell at Epsom, while their Aidan O’Brien-trained stablemate US Army Ranger was pushed out to as big as 11-2.
Wings Of Desire is the 4-1 favourite for the big race.
“We had 20mm of steady rain in a six-hour spell,” said clerk of the course Andrew Cooper.
“I walked the track at 2.30pm just after it had ceased, and I must say it has taken it quite well.
“I think it will settle down a bit now, and we’ll stick to good to soft, soft in places.
“I don’t think there’s much in the way of rain to come. It’s a slowly improving picture, with the temperature picking up to 20C by Saturday.
“It’s not going to be rapidly drying weather — there’s no great sunshine forecast — but the course should dry out and I would expect us to lose the soft in places before too long and be good to soft for some time,” he added.