Frankie Dettori has expressed an interest in riding in the Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster on Wednesday week, should he be available.
The popular Italian would be a valuable addition to the race that has become an established attraction on the opening day of the St Leger Festival since its inception in 2010.
In the past it has been exclusively for retired jockeys and won by such stars of the sport as Julie Krone, Mick Kinane, Sir Anthony McCoy and Joseph O’Brien. This year, however, it is for current professional riders only due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“Frankie (Dettori) is keen to ride and I think if Ryan (Moore) hadn’t been self-isolating in Ireland, he certainly would have been up for it,” said PJA executive director Dale Gibson, who has been a driving force behind the event.
“Frankie is really keen to ride in it if he’s there, but he’s not going to know until the entries come out.
“Normally retired jockeys ride in the race, but this year it will be a regular race for jockeys with the same conditions. It’s a mile race for three-year-olds and upwards, 0-70 classified stakes.
“It’s good money for a class five – £11,200 in total which includes appearance money. It’s for pro jockeys this year due to the Covid restrictions as opposed to retired riders.
“It counts for the jockeys’ title, so even though Oisin (Murphy) is banned for next week at Doncaster, the chasing pack will be keen to win it because it’s another regular race.
“It’s a good card next Wednesday. There’s a Listed race (Scarbrough Stakes) before the Leger Legends and a Group Three (Sceptre Stakes) straight after.
“They have moved a Group Three onto that card because of changes to the Pattern. It’s a really good opening day.”
Gibson realises the event will not be the same this year because of the pandemic, but they will make the most of the situation.
“It’s significantly lower key than normal. At least we’ve got the race on, which is the main thing,” he said.
“It’s still run in aid of Jack Berry House and the Northern Racing College, but we won’t be raising anywhere near what we normally do as things are different.
“Luncheon will be a fraction of what it normally is, auction prices are a fraction of what they normally are – ability to raise money (is) virtually nil.
“We’ve got the help of Elwick Stud who stand Mondialiste, so it’s the same sponsors as last year which is great. They have been very helpful, as have Doncaster and ARC, but it’s just going to be a lower key race.”
The race is going to be shown on terrestrial television for the first time.
“It’s the first year the race is for current professional jockeys and it’s live on ITV,” said Gibson.
“All those years we had retired jockeys riding on it, we couldn’t get it live on terrestrial TV and this year it is.
“At least they can promote the race for what it’s done. It’s raised over £1.1million for the two charities.”