Read the latest Mike Cattermole column
Read the latest Mike Cattermole column

Mike Cattermole column: Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and Goshen

ur columnist on the rise of Tom Symonds, Frankie at 50, where now for Goshen and and a Christmas book recommendation too.


When Tom Symonds left Nicky Henderson to start his own training career, almost a decade ago now, many were predicting big things for the then rookie who was hungry and ambitious to prove himself.

However, nobody is guaranteed a fast-track to training stardom which is why Symonds is probably appreciating the highs of this breakthrough season a lot more than he would have done if it had happened earlier.

Still a youthful 35, he told me this week: “It is dreamland at the moment and I am not used to all this media attention. Nice horses help, of course.”

And he has more than a few nice ones with Song For Someone, last Saturday’s gutsy Grade 2 International Hurdle winner, leading the way with exciting futures too for Saint De Vassy and Llandinabo Lad, the latter bred by the Symonds family themselves.

So why is it all clicking together right now for the Herefordshire-based trainer?

“We have installed a lovely round gallop, which has helped, but the horses have come of age and we have also inherited some well handicapped ones from Dave Dennis who has also joined us,” he explained.

Song For Someone (left) lands the Unibet International Hurdle
Song For Someone (left) lands the Unibet International Hurdle

He reports Song For Someone as “really well” after his Cheltenham win and admitted that he almost pulled him out when the once eight hurdles had been reduced to five because of the low sun.

“I was very depressed as he can be embarrassing on the gallops at home sometimes. He is a very intelligent horse who comes alive over hurdles and when I first sent a video of him schooling to Nico (De Boinville), he asked me why he had to school so fast, but that’s him.

“He’s a horse you have to humour more than train. He is in great form and we are looking of course at the spring festivals. He will be entered in the Champion Hurdle or go to Aintree.

“Before that he has options of either the Haydock Champion Trial on January 23, the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on February 6 or the Kingwell at Wincanton on February 20 which he won last season when it was at Kempton.”

Meanwhile, the lightly-raced Saint De Vassy, recently an easy winner at Exeter, has entries at either Ascot on Saturday or Bangor on Sunday and looks to be realising his considerable potential.

“He is very talented but we couldn’t get him right for ages. He bled so we hobdayed him and that was holding him back. He has done lots of work on the round gallop.”

The feats of Llandinabo Lad, being home bred, “is the stuff of dreams”. He is now unbeaten in two hurdles, has a rating of 141 and runs in the SkyBet Supreme Novices Hurdle Trial at Ascot on Friday, once again under Richard Johnson. All things being well, the Tolworth at Sandown in February will be next.

The way Symonds cocks his head to one side in true Henry Cecil style when being interviewed is a sight we could see quite often over the coming winter.


While Song For Someone was just getting the better of Silver Streak, Goshen was a sorry sight in the International Hurdle as he faded away quickly in the home straight.

He looked a pale imitation of the horse who was about to record an easy Triumph Hurdle victory nine months before and it was no surprise to see he had a ready excuse afterwards with a diagnosis of a fibrillating heart.

Goshen trails home in the Unibet International Hurdle
Goshen trails home in the Unibet International Hurdle

For much of the race, Goshen did not look comfortable, being way too keen and hanging to his right. He clearly wasn’t feeling himself and although horses can come back from such a problem – Denman being the most obvious example - this is not great.

Goshen has also not always looked an easy ride and I wish Gary Moore and his team all the best as they start to rebuild the career of a very talented but clearly fragile horse.


Meanwhile, Gary’s eldest son Ryan was doing what he does best over in Hong Kong, mopping up a Group One double with Mogul in the Vase and Danon Smash, who overcame an unfavourable high draw, in the Sprint.

Ryan has now won all four of the top races on the International card.

Mogul is a wonderful looking individual and looks set to take high rank as a four-year-old, although I recall saying the same about his elder brother Japan who never kicked on and has been winless in five starts this year.

Mogul streaks to victory
Mogul streaks to victory

Moore missed out on plenty of Group One-winning opportunities in a difficult year through no fault of his own and how can you not feel too for Christophe Soumillon?

The Belgian would have ridden the Japanese-trained Normcore to victory in the Cup but Covid quarantining caught up with him (even though he thought he was following the rules) just weeks after a positive Covid test cost him a double at the Breeders’ Cup.

I reckon it cost him the thick end of £400,000 and that would have hurt - even a very wealthy man like him.


Frankie Dettori must be one of the fittest 50-year-olds on the planet. He looks after himself, both in his preparation but also the way he manages his output and that is probably the secret to his longevity. Plus his natural brilliance, of course.

Watching Frankie in full flight is always a joy and which young and aspiring jockey would not want to imitate him?

For one thing, he uses the whip in the correct place (on the rump) and a lot of jockeys, even some of the best ones in this country (don’t even mention the USA), are guilty of hitting them down the saddle cloth. That’s on the ribs, where there is just skin. It would be painful.

Frankie Dettori celebrates with Enable
Frankie Dettori celebrates with Enable

This was called out on Sky Sports Racing this week by former champion Seb Sanders, who questioned why the authorities were not taking action.

I have been on about this many times before but I am no jockey. Fair play to Seb, then, who would have ruffled a few feathers among his ex-colleagues.


Colin Mackenzie, formerly Captain Heath of the Daily Mail, used the first lockdown very productively indeed to pen his entertaining memoirs, “Pressing My Luck”, which is available now on Amazon.

Colin has certainly led an interesting life, as the pages are full of colourful anecdotes, starting with joining the William Hicky gossip team on the Daily Express and then later, when on the foreign desk, he obtained the scoop of a lifetime by tracking down the fabled and infamous Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs, at his hideout in Rio De Janeiro.

You could say he peaked early (who doesn’t in their early 30s?) but although then coming up short in his pursuit of Lord Lucan, Colin notched up several other notable interviews, too, with such as Richard Nixon (who he found boring) and the notorious Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.

He went on tour with Led Zeppelin, had a conversation with Liz Taylor about the recent break down of her marriage to Richard Burton and then had breakfast with Burton himself (although he declined the vodka) to get his side of the story.

Colin’s recall of detail is quite extraordinary, even when unearthing some titbit about Prince Charles from a known Royal associate while both used the gents at the Odeon Leicester Square on the night of a Bond premier.

As you do!

The important thing was that he got his quote, as he always seemed to.

However, at the heart of it all is his love of the turf - and a bet - and that is why he jumped at being a founding member of Racing Post after a spell on Nigel Dempster’s team at the Daily Mail, where he returned later as racing correspondent.

There are plenty of juicy tales from the turf in here from a well-connected man, who has enjoyed 70-plus wins as an owner, and it’s well worth considering as a Christmas gift for any racing fan.

*Pressing My Luck – Memoir of a Fleet Street Veteran” is available at, priced £9.99

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