sport

Barzalona returns to France

Derby-winning jockey Mickael Barzalona is to return home to France to continue his riding career and association with Godolphin.

Barzalona, who won the Epsom Classic aboard Pour Moi in 2011, was snapped up to join Godolphin in 2012 and won both the Dubai World Cup aboard Monterosso and the St Leger on Encke during his first year with Sheikh Mohammed's operation.

However, the 22-year-old has endured a difficult start to this season, with Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby spreading the net wider in terms of his use of riders and Barzalona has missed out on a number of high-profile rides, notably sitting on the sidelines when Godolphin had three runners in Saturday's Investec Derby.

Speaking on www.godolphin.com, Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor John Ferguson said: "Sheikh Mohammed has always maintained that Mickael Barzalona is a world-class jockey. He will move back to France where he will continue to ride horses owned by Godolphin and Darley.

"It will also mean that he is reunited with the man who first uncovered his precocious talent as a teenager, Andre Fabre.

"Not only is Mickael a naturally gifted sportsman, he is also a true gentleman who has handled a difficult time with the utmost professionalism and true class."

Appleby said: "Mickael and I have enjoyed great success together but since I took over at Moulton Paddocks I have been given greater freedom to use the best jockeys available and be able to pair them to individual horses.

"This has meant that Mickael's undisputed skills have been underused in the past few weeks and it is not right that such talent is squandered.

"Therefore I am delighted that the boss has given him this opportunity which will allow his skills to be showcased once more.

"I have absolutely no doubt he will flourish with this new move and I am sure he will be riding for us in the future."

Barzalona, who has ridden 124 winners for Godolphin in the United Kingdom since 2011, said: "Following a meeting with John Ferguson this morning, I confirm that I am looking forward to my next adventure in the Godolphin silks.

"I will be returning to France very soon and full of enthusiasm having had some great experiences during my time in England.

"The recent period has been a difficult time but is something that every sportsman can expect to go through and I am sure I will come out of it stronger and even more focused.

"I am only 22 and have a long career ahead of me doing a job that I love."