TO say that Europe's most famous jockey Frankie Dettori didn't enjoy the greatest May Festival at Chester would be an understatement with no winners from 10 rides.
But the Italian currently sits top of the tree among the riders, having indicated at the start of the Flat season that he yearns another jockeys' championship.
His time in front won't last long, however, as the 33-year-old nurses a broken finger. Darryl Holland, who didn't have too good a May Festival either with no wins from 11 rides, should pass him by the weekend in a title race for which the current champion, Kieren Fallon, remains an oddson favourite.
Dettori is convinced he will recover in time for The Derby a week on Saturday.
'I will ride with one hand if I have to,' he quipped as he went to hospital after a freak accident, when he fell off a horse that was spooked by a pheasant before the start of a race.
The Derby is one of the few top races in the world that, most frustratingly, has eluded him.
Many followers of racing may hope he continues to wait. That is if one national newspaper story was correct, that would retire on the spot if he won The Derby!
His great hope this year is Snow Ridge. Second in the 2000 Guineas, there are high expectations in Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin training ranks that the colt has the makings of an Epsom winner.
Snow Ridge is now vying for favouritism following an injury scare to the Aidan O'Brientrained Yeats, but there will be much to and fro in the Derby market before the race. Meanwhile, MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase winner Red Lancer is still on course for Royal Ascot, despite picking up a slight injury when finishing third in the final recognised Derby trial - the Predominate Stakes at Goodwood last week.
The next fixture at Chester Racecourse is Ladies Evening on Tuesday, June 8, when the first race is scheduled for 6.30pm. Gates open at 4.30pm.
Ticket prices are from £5 for the Open Course to £25 for the County Stand concourse and £35 for the Long Room. As well as via the website (www.chester-races.co.uk), badges can be bought on the racecourse's credit card hotline on 01244 304610, which is open between 9am and 4.45pm, Mondays to Fridays. General e-mail inquiries to email@example.com
The next fixture at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse is on Friday, July 30. Admission to the Course Enclosure is £6 while the Paddock Enclosure is £13. Accompanied children enter free.
More information is available on www.BangorOnDeeRaces.co.uk or contact the racecourse on 01978 780323.