Mishriff is set for French Derby – but regular rider David Egan isn’t

Horse Racing Mishriff goes for French Derby
Mishriff (left), in trackwork in Riyadh, will have new jockey in Prix du Jockey Club. Photo: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Neville Hopwood

By Jon Lees

GB: Newmarket Stakes winner Mishriff will have a new jockey when he lines up in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) at Chantilly on July 5 – whether or not regular partner David Egan gets a riding ban reduced.

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Egan, first jockey to the colt’s owner Prince Faisal, has lodged an appeal against a five-day penalty he received for careless riding in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot. The appeal is due to be heard by the BHA disciplinary panel on Monday.

Egan’s suspension, from July 3 to July 7, currently rules the jockey out of the Investec Derby meeting at Epsom next Saturday and the following day’s Prix du Jockey Club, where the John Gosden-trained Mishriff is set to run.

To further complicate the situation, current coronavirus rules require any travellers to Britain from other countries to self-isolate for 14 days – although the rules may be revised on Monday when the government is set to announce the outcome of talks about the creation of air bridges.

Prince Faisal’s racing manager Ted Voute said: “I had a meeting with John [Gosden] yesterday. With a fortnight quarantine required on coming back, which we won’t know about until Monday – his appeal is on Monday and the first forfeit is on Monday – so we thought it would be more professional to organise an alternative.

“It’s no reflection on David at all,” Voute added. “We just felt there was too much stacked against us on a time limit to try to juggle them all and hope it fell our way. We are in the process of trying to book a French jockey.

“We potentially have three runners at the July meeting the following week so we would rather him be free for that than sitting at home in quarantine for a fortnight.”

One of the weighing room’s future stars, 21-year-old Egan was champion apprentice in 2017. He rode 77 winners last year in his most successful campaign so far.

“We tried to go down the ‘elite sportsman’ route but that appears quite complicated,” Voute added with regard to the mandatory quarantine period.

“I’ve told David this is the route we are going to take. If we wait too long we may not get a decent jockey and if things didn’t go our way we could end up in a real muddle.

“John said Chantilly takes a bit of riding and Frankie always says you need a pretty good rhythm to ride it, so maybe it would be the right thing to use someone over there who is used to the track.

“He thought David was a beautiful rider but felt there was too much against us on this particular occasion. He is a great young jockey and I am so pleased we signed him.”

Mishriff, a son of 2015 Poule d’Essai des Poulains winner Make Believe, beat Volkan Star and stablemate Waldkonig in a four-length victory at Newmarket, which followed a second place to Japanese colt Full Flat on dirt in Saudi Arabia.

“The plan was always to go to France and to stick to 1m2f for the moment,” said Voute. “When he ran in Riyadh, Prince Faisal said to make sure he is in the French Derby.

“Mishriff is from a family he has had all his life – he owns a third of the stallion and it would mean quite a bit for him to even be placed in a Classic.

“Andre Fabre’s Victor Ludorum looks very good but I can’t find a form line to prove that and we won’t know until there is a bit of competition to prove it. The prince has been quite lucky in France over the years.”

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