Royal Ascot Jockeys In Focus – Frankie Dettori
Frankie Dettori is often the man for the big occasion, none more so than when winning all seven races on the card at Ascot back in 1996. Twenty-six years later and he hasn’t lost any of his appetite for riding winners, still being a regular visitor to the winners enclosure. We’ve picked out five horses who may give him his best chances at the royal meeting below.
STOWELL (Copper Horse Stakes – Tuesday 6:10pm)
The first of Frankie’s best chances is John & Thady Gosden’s STOWELL.
His best effort came over this trip last year in the Queen’s Vase, finishing third behind Kemari and Wordsworth, and would’ve finished closer had he not raced so wide on the home turn. The hope is that stepping back up in trip will see him back in the winners enclosure.
He had his first run of the season in John Porter Stakes, finishing third again. He beat Ilaraab that day, who won a Group 3 next time out. The next run wasn’t his best performance, finishing fourth in the Listed Buckhounds Stakes, but run may have just come a bit too soon.
He’s had almost six weeks off now so should be primed for this. Frankie knows him well, having ridden him for four of his six races and he’ll be keen to ride a winner on the opening day of Royal Ascot. He’ll have a good chance of doing do with Stowell.
Copper Horse Stakes
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LORD NORTH (Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – Wednesday 3:40pm)
Sir Michael Stoute’s Bay Bridge could take the world of beating here, but if he has an off-day, Frankie Dettori will be there to pick up on any mistakes on board LORD NORTH.
John & Thady Gosden’s runner won the race last year comfortably, and has won a further two Group 1 races over in Meydan since. He finished fourth on his most recent run in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last month, over a slightly longer trip than what he’ll race in on Wednesday. It was only in the final furlong where he lost touch with the front three, and if the race had been over this trip he would’ve finished even closer.
This will have been the target for him for some time, and his trainer will have him fully primed to become just the fourth horse to win the race for a second time. Frankie Dettori has won this four times so he has the perfect partner on board to do so!
Prince Of Wales's Stakes
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STRADIVARIUS (Gold Cup – Thursday 4:20pm)
This one would mean the world to connections and the majority of racing fans. If Frankie rides STRADIVARIUS to victory in the Gold Cup, chances are the roof will come off and the whole crowd will be in full party mode for the rest of the day!
Frankie has been on board for 15 of his 20 career wins, including all three of his previous Gold Cup victories. If he can steer him to a fourth success in the race, he’ll equal the great Yeat’s record and rightly have his name in the history books.
After a disappointing fourth in the race last year, he only had Trueshan and Tashkhan finish ahead of him in his final two races of the season (both on softer ground than he prefers), and still managed two Group 2 victories.
He returned this year in impressive fashion, running out a comfortable winner of the Yorkshire Cup, reversing form with Tashkhan in the process. Since then, it’s been all about the Gold Cup and trainers John & Thady Gosden will have him ready to shine here.
If Frankie could only ride one winner this week, it will be on Stradivarius.
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REACH FOR THE MOON (Hampton Court Stakes – Thursday 5:35pm)
One of his biggest chances of the week could be on board REACH FOR THE MOON, another for the Gosden team.
In his six races so far, he has only had four horses finish ahead of him:
- New Science (two-time Listed winner since)
- Point Lonsdale (Group 2 winner since)
- Bayside Boy (third in two Group 1’s since)
- My Prospero (fancied to go close in the St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday)
That shows you the quality he has, and he’s set to go off as favourite in this. He’s had just the one run this season, finishing second behind My Prospero in the Coral Heron Stakes at Sandown last month. He was just over a length behind the winner then, and that one is fancied to go well in then Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday). He was comfortably clear of anything else in the race, and with that race under his belt he should be fully fit for this.
With The Queen rumoured to be in attendance on Thursday, it will be fitting for racing royalty to ride a winner for her Majesty, and with Reach For The Moon there’s every chance of that happening.
Hampton Court Stakes
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INSPIRAL (Coronation Stakes)
Unbeaten star filly INSPIRAL is the final one of our picks for Frankie’s best chances and she’s one of his best rides of the whole week.
She hasn’t been seen yet this season, but providing John & Thady Gosden have her fit she should be difficult to beat. She oozed class of her final race of last year, when running out a cosy winner of the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last October. She was comfortably clear of both Prosperous Voyage (2nd) and Cachet (3rd), and there appears to be little reason why they should reverse that form.
The only doubt seems to be her fitness, having not raced since that run in October, and providing she does turn up fully fit, she should maintain her unbeaten record here. She’s certainly doing her sire Frankel proud with her unbeaten run!