FRANKIE Dettori is confident the aptly-named Global Giant can make his first ride in Britain this year a winning one by striking gold in the bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes on day two of Newmarket’s season-opening Craven meeting.
The globetrotting Dettori, who turned 50 in December, will take to the track in Britain for the first time in 2021 aboard the John and Thady Gosden-trained six-year-old in the Group Three prize.
“I’m looking forward to riding back in Britain and getting back on Global Giant who is owned by a good friend of mine Sheikh Isa,” he said.
“We had a crack at the Bahrain International where we came second after missing the gate then he didn’t take to the dirt well in the Saudi Cup. He has a favourite’s chance. It is a good ride to have as my first ride back in Britain this year.”
Although Global Giant, who will face five opponents, will be Dettori’s first domestic ride of the year, the three times champion jockey has been busy racing abroad and admits his body feels as strong as ever.
He added: “I’ve had a great winter despite the Covid pandemic. I was able to ride in Dubai and I had a good carnival out there with Saeed Bin Suroor along with riding a Group One winner for John (Gosden) on Lord North in the Dubai Turf.
“I’ve also had a couple of trips to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. I’ve really been enjoying things and I’m really looking forward to seeing people back at the races here.
“Fifty is a big number and it does scare me a bit sometimes but the body feels good at the moment thank God and I’m enjoying my racing.”
Meanwhile, there will be record prize money of £50,000 when the Cliff Stud Thirsk Hunt Cup, a historic mile handicap, is staged at the North Yorkshire track on Saturday.
The start-time is being brought forward so racing at Thirsk is concluded before Prince Philip’s funeral.
Cliff Stud was acquired by Yorkshire businessman Paul Sutherland in 2017. The 220-acre property, situated near the market town of Helmsley, was previously owned by legendary trainers Sir Noel Murless and Sir Henry Cecil.
As well as a rich history, Cliff Stud boasts state of the art facilities and accommodation for up to 65 horses. The stud is managed by former jockey Michael Wood and his wife Liz.
“Horse racing in the area has such a rich heritage and we are delighted to be able to continue our support of such a local, historic and high-profile race such as the Thirsk Hunt Cup,” said Sutherland.
Top National Hunt jockey Harry Cobden will undergo surgery tomorrow, and be out of action for six weeks, after suffering facial injuries in a fall at Aintree on Randox Grand National day.
It came just two days after he recorded Grade One wins in successive races on Monmiral and Clan Des Obeaux in the colours of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Harry Skelton is now two clear over Brian Hughes in the race to be 2020-21 champion National Hunt jockey after a treble at Southwell – the contest ends at Sandown on Saturday week.
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