Frankie Dettori: rode for Sheikh Joaan twice at Royal AscotPICTURE: Getty Images
Dettori on brink of deal to ride for Sheikh Joaan
FRANKIE DETTORI is set to come in from the cold thanks to a potentially mouthwatering new riding contract with Sheikh Joaan Al Thani, one of the rising forces in the owning and breeding world.
The Racing Post understands that the former champion jockey could be on the verge of signing a deal to ride for the brother of the Emir of Qatar, coming at the perfect time for Dettori as he tries to re-establish himself in the top rank of jockeys.
Dettori's long and highly successful partnership with Godolphin ended last autumn and he was then hit with a six-month drug ban, from which he returned only on the eve of the Investec Derby on May 31.
The 42-year-old has ridden five winners from 81 rides in Britain since his return, but drew a blank at Royal Ascot last month, the first time he had done so since missing the meeting through injury in 2005.
Dettori is in action on the all-weather with two rides at Wolverhampton on Monday afternoon, but could be back at the top table if a deal with Sheikh Joaan comes off.
The Qatari is building a string of top-class horses, headed by St James's Palace Stakes runner-up Toronado and Group 1 winner Olympic Glory, both trained by Richard Hannon, and the Marco Botti-trained Dubai World Cup third Planteur.
Rider and owner have teamed up twice this season, both at Royal Ascot, notably when the Richard Fahey-trained Sandiva chased home Kiyoshi in the Group 3 Albany Stakes.
Sheikh Joaan, who owns the 125-hectare Haras de Bouquetot stud in Normandy, last year bought Olympic Glory and had his first runners in Britain earlier this year.