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Frankie Detorri keeps Ryan smiling

Frankie Dettori led the jockeys into the sunlit parade ring here at Salisbury yesterday and suddenly noticed the cameras trained on the posse behind.

He turned and sought out the champion jockey, who was maintaining a scrupulously stony aspect in the Queen's silks. “Don't smile, Ryan!” he shouted. Ryan Moore blushed, stared at the ground and succumbed to a helpless grin.

Never mind the jockeys' title. Moore thrives on work, and there was no way he could play up to his joyless image this time. After an infuriating three-week hiatus, his wrist injury had healed sufficiently to permit him his first two mounts since a fall at Windsor on August 9. In the meantime, as he now accepts himself, any realistic hope of retaining his championship has ebbed away.

His comeback ride, Caraboss, proved an ideal workout, her inexperience warranting hands-and-heels only to secure fourth. Rather more was demanded by Tale Untold in the Listed race, herself still green on only her second start, and she did not make his life terribly easy in finishing a close fifth behind Brevity. It was a low-key return, but Moore can now enjoy being left alone to retrieve his best for the big races still to come this autumn.

His title defence was proving pretty tough going as it was, and Paul Hanagan and Richard Hughes are now beyond reach. But he declined to favour either rival as favourite.

“They've too much of a lead now,” he acknowledged. “And I wish them both the best of luck, but the end of the season is two months away and in racing anything can happen.”

As if to testify to that remark, Moore was wearing a support on his injured wrist. “But I don't really need it, it's just to ease me back,” he said. “I did a week in the cryo-chamber, and that helps keep up your fitness, because you do some training afterwards. That gives you energy, gives you a boost. You're always going to get injuries, but it's good to be back.”

Moore's season has become a matter of quality, not quantity, and could yet be crowned in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe itself with Workforce. The Derby winner has not been seen since disappointing at Ascot in July, behind his stablemate Harbinger, but is stepping up his schedule now. Harbinger's revelatory performance that day proved to be the last of his career, but he has responded to surgery and it was yesterday announced that he has been sold to go to stud in Japan.

Dettori was in rather less frivolous spirits after Moore's comeback race, incidentally. Having found himself trapped on the rail on the heavily backed Khawlah — a Godolphin newcomer, out of a half-sister to the Derby winners Sea The Stars and Galileo — he forced his way out to challenge, failed by three-quarters of a length and was given a two-day ban for careless riding.

The 33-1 winner, Shim Sham, was saddled by Brian Meehan, who also won the EBF Dick Poole Stakes with Brevity.

Belfast Telegraph

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