By Nicholas Godfrey
Saudi Arabia: Frankie Dettori is set to renew his old pals’ act with veteran trainer Allan Smith next weekend at the Saudi Cup meeting when the pair will bid for a repeat victory on the world’s richest raceday with Dark Power.
This odd couple – one a Bahraini-based Essex boy, the other the world’s most famous jockey – teamed up 12 months ago to register a 66-1 shock with Dark Power in the stc 1351 Turf Sprint at the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting.
On Saturday week [Feb 20], they are set to team up again as the grey gelding, who carries the colours of Sheikh Isa’s Al Adiyat Racing, bids to follow up in the $1 million contest at King Abdulaziz racecourse on the outskirts of Riyadh.
“We’ve got the services of Frankie again this year,” said multiple Bahraini champion Smith, for whom Dettori scored a six-length victory on stable favourite Old Hook at Lingfield as long ago as 1994.
“He was down here at the Royal Stables last week,” added the much-travelled Smith. “He gave Dark Power a good examination and he was really pleased with him.”
Seven-year-old Dark Power was originally trained in Britain by Clive Cox before joining Smith in Bahrain, where he has twice finished third at Sakhir racecourse this term.
“We’ve only managed to get two runs into him this season as there wasn’t too great a programme for him with the rating he’s got,” said Smith, speaking to the Saudi Cup media team.
“The first run he definitely needed and in his last run he finished third, when he ran into a terrible headwind. His jockey Gérald Mossé had a bit of a problem holding him up so he just ran a bit free but he ran a nice race.
“He came out of that well and he’s now on the same racing weight that he went into The Saudi Cup meeting last year, so we’re very pleased with him.”