Arab Spring bidding to keep Frankie Dettori in winter wonderland

Fri 24 Feb 2017

Frankie Dettori aims to continue a successful winter when he rides Arab Spring for Sir Michael Stoute in the H H The Emir's Trophy at Doha on Saturday.

The Italian has been globetrotting to places such as Mauritius, the Middle East and South Africa, where he won the Investec Cape Derby, and hopes to carry on the good work in this mile-and-a-half local Group One race in Qatar, which is worth £463,000 to the winner.

A field of 16 from places as far wide as America, Britain, France and Germany will line up for the thoroughbred highlight of the three-day H H The Emir's Sword Festival at Al Rayyan Racecourse.

Arab Spring won the September Stakes at Kempton in September and had a prep race at Lingfield over a mile and a quarter three weeks ago, when he was just beaten by Decorated Knight.

"He's a very honest horse. It's a very tough race. There are a lot of horses with a good chance, but I'm very pleased with Arab Spring," said Dettori at a press conference at the Al Shaqab-Qatar Foundation..

"He seems to like top of the ground and all the vibes are good. Fingers crossed."

The American raider is Royal Albert Hall, trained by Doug O'Neill, who is optimistic of a bold show from the five-year-old.

"Everything's great with him. Alan Garcia is here to ride him, he's had a sit on him and got on great with him," said O'Neill.

"He's going the other way than we're used to, but that didn't seem to bother him at all. We're expecting a big effort."

Richard Fahey's Gabrial is the other British contender, while other leading candidates include Migwar, Mango Tango and Chopin, and The Blue Eye bids to repeat last year's triumph for trainer Jassim Al Ghazali and jockey Harry Bentley.

Dettori has another interesting ride on Ghayyar in the Al Biddah Mile for Richard Hannon, who is keen on the chances of the three-year-old.

The son of Power only won one of his four starts in his juvenile season, but Hannon is expecting more this term.

"I like him. Looking at him a couple of months ago he has started to look very well, he looks well in his coat. You wouldn't think it was winter at home and I'm hoping he'll run well," said the Marlborough trainer.

"He's got a good draw and I think the track will suit him."

The two other British challengers in a field of 15 are the David Evans-trained Sea Fox and Simon Dow's Mr Scaramanga.

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