Five things that we learnt on a remarkable Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot

Thu 20 Jun 2019

Bookmakers saved from biggest payout in history

Biometric collars Turgenev and saves the bookies
Biometric collars Turgenev and saves the bookies

After Frankie Dettori rode the first four winners on Ladies’ Day, the bookmaking industry stood on the brink of oblivion before the Britannia Handicap.

After cutting Dettori’s mount Turgenev from 25-1 to 7-2 favourite they were shaking when he went two lengths clear, only to be caught by Biometric.

Nicola McGeady, of Ladbrokes, said: “Frankie Dettori is the toast of the nation after an incredibly dramatic day at Royal Ascot. We are hugely relieved to have avoided the worst case scenario of a Magnificent Six, but we are by no means celebrating. A four-timer for the most popular jockey at the biggest meeting of the Flat season is a shocking result.”

Barry Orr, of Betfair added: "The first four winners were bad results but if either of Frankie’s last two mounts had of won all previous know losses would have paled into insignificance. That includes Cheltenham calamities such as Annie Power."

Just no stopping Dettori

Frankie Dettori (left) and owner Bjorn Nielsen celebrate another Gold Cup
Frankie Dettori (left) and owner Bjorn Nielsen celebrate another Gold Cup

It would not be saying anything new that when Frankie Dettori is hot he is red hot – and he loves nothing more than the big stage. Before the meeting he said in an interview the week would be classed as a failure if he did not ride five winners. He reached that mark at the halfway point and at one stage bookmakers were looking at a record pay-out.

Stoute has another top-class prospect on his hands

Sangarius was an impressive winner of the Hampton Court
Sangarius was an impressive winner of the Hampton Court

Sir Michael Stoute has always thought a lot of the giant Sangarius – the fact he ran him in the Dewhurst last season said as much – and he looked a very smart colt in the making when winning the Hampton Court. On his first run over 10 furlongs he was in a different league to a high-class field and looks the type with whom Stoute will slowly bring to a peak.

How good is Spartan Fighter?

A’Ali broke his maiden in the Group Two Norfolk Stakes
A’Ali broke his maiden in the Group Two Norfolk Stakes

At Ripon on June 5 there was what looked an above-average two-year-old novice stakes being staged in which more than one runner was strongly fancied. A’Ali was having his first start for Simon Crisford and was sent off the 5-4 favourite. However, he was just denied by Declan Carroll’s Spartan Fighter, with the pair nine lengths clear. Spartan Fighter missed Ascot and his next run is eagerly awaited.

A long-term plan pays dividends

Star Catcher was a clear-cut winner of the Ribblesdale
Star Catcher was a clear-cut winner of the Ribblesdale

John Gosden and owner Anthony Oppenheimer would have been within their rights to run Star Catcher in the Oaks after she was narrowly beaten in a trial at Newbury, but on Frankie Dettori’s advice they skipped Epsom and waited for the Ribblesdale. It proved a wise move and she will surely get her try at a Group One before long.

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