Frankie goes to Canada! Dettori in the spotlight on rare return to Woodbine
Frankie Dettori is no stranger to big-race glory right around the globe, but he might need a tour guide when he touches down in Toronto for Saturday's Pattison Canadian International (10.35) on his first visit to Woodbine for nearly ten years.
Dettori has won Canada's flagship race three times, but not since Joshua Tree's victory in 2012 has he appeared in the country. He rides Walton Street who, like the world-famous rider's 2000 and 2004 winners Mutafaweq and Sulamani, races in the Godolphin blue.
Trainer Charlie Appleby said: "Walton Street is in great form. We were pleased with his run in Germany last time following a successful Dubai campaign. He looks a leading contender."
The David Simcock-trained Desert Encounter was denied a hat-trick bid last year when the pandemic meant the race did not take place, but he is back for more and aims to join Joshua Tree as a three-time winner.
"He seems in great order," said Simcock. "I was really pleased with his last run at Windsor at the end of August and hopefully that sets him up for this.
"I think his longevity and consistency is testament to him. He is a kind horse and very straightforward to deal with."
Paul Cole, now training in partnership with son Oliver, was a Canadian International winner with Snurge in 1992 and runs Duke Of Hazzard in the card's Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (11.12), in which Dettori partners Raging Bull for Chad Brown.
He is not the only top jockey making a trip to North America on Saturday as Ryan Moore will be in New York to ride Bolshoi Ballet in the 1m4f Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont Park.
The one-time Derby hotpot was a Grade 1 winner at the track in July, but missed an engagement in the Prix Niel at Longchamp on Sunday because of a vaccine irregularity.
TJ Comerford, representing trainer Aidan O'Brien, said: "He won here two starts back and seemed to go around here over a shorter distance. His last start [at Saratoga] was a good experience for him. He's won here and has form here, so that’s always a big help.
"All of his wins this year were at a mile and a quarter, but he always steps up like a mile-and-a-half horse."
Moore will line up against a familiar opponent too, with Jamie Spencer picking up the ride on Godolphin's Yibir, an impressive winner of the Great Voltigeur Stakes at the Ebor festival last month.
"He has settled in well since travelling over and looks to have the best form over a mile and a half going into the race," Appleby said. "Belmont is a big galloping track, which should suit Yibir, and a repeat of his York run should make him the one to beat."
Appleby and Spencer also team up in the Jockey Club Oaks with Creative Flair, a Listed winner at Newbury this season.
Appleby added: "She shipped back to Newmarket after her third at Saratoga and returns following a short break. If she runs up to her best form, she should be very competitive."
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