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Sheikh Fahad Al Thani's Strong Suit and Pearl Secret are on course for the Sprint Cup

Sheikh Fahad Al Thani: will employ retained rider, but not Frankie Dettori

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Pearl Racing rule out Dettori as retained jockey

SHEIKH FAHAD AL THANI'S flourishing racing empire will retain a high-profile jockey for the first time next year - but not Frankie Dettori.

The announcement that Dettori will not be employed by Godolphin next year was followed by speculation he was considered for a position with the Pearl Racing and Qatar Bloodstock operations controlled by Sheikh Fahad, who recently installed rookie Olly Stevens to train from a 50-box yard in Surrey.

However, Fahad's racing manager David Redvers made clear Dettori will not be joining forces with the Qipco driving force. He also stressed no contract has been signed with Jamie Spencer, one of whose exisiting emploeyers, Jim Hay, used his own Facebook account to claim he and his wife Fitri "are very proud that Jamie has landed the top job riding for Qatar Racing".

Redvers said on Sunday: "We love Frankie and think he's fantastic. He is a great ambassador for racing and the Qipco British Champions Series and we are always happy for him to ride for us, but he will not be retained by us next year.

Jamie Spencer

Jamie Spencer: linked with job

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

"We will, however, be retaining a jockey and will be making an annoucement during the week. A firm decision has been taken but no contract has yet been signed, so it would be inappropriate to say who our number-one rider will be.

"Jamie Spencer is one of a number of jockeys we admire and like enormously but I stress that no contract has been signed with anyone.

"I would say, though, that Harry Bentley rides extremely well and Sheikh Fahad has been delighted how he has performed on our horses so he will also be retained by us going forward."

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