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Dettori bags first Sceptre winner as racegoers make brief return at Doncaster

Wed 9 Sep 2020

Frankie Dettori performed his trademark flying dismount for the spectators in attendance following victory aboard Foxtrot Lady in the bet365 Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster.

Andrew Balding’s mare was an 18-1 shot for the Group Three feature on the opening afternoon of the St Leger Festival.

However, sporting the colours of the great sprinting mare Lochsong, who he steered to multiple Group One wins in the early 1990s, the popular Italian once again weaved his magic in the saddle.

After being settled in behind rivals for much of the seven-furlong contest, Foxtrot Lady was produced with a well-timed challenge against the stands rail and proved a length and a quarter too strong for 7-2 favourite Althiqa, with Bounce The Blues a close-up third.

Dettori, who was winning the race for the first time, said: “Andrew booked me late and I didn’t know what to expect. It looked a wide-open event.

“I was lucky I had Andrea (Atzeni, on Cloak Of Spirits) next to me – he took the wind for me.

“There’s a bit of a headwind and I filled her with confidence and sat and had one run at it and she picked up – it’s as simple as that.”

A crowd of around 2,500 people were on Town Moor to witness Dettori’s victory – the first day of racing in front of a paying crowd in Britain since mid-March as part of a pilot event that was due to take place for the four days of the meeting.

That number was due to rise to around 6,000 for the Pertemps St Leger on Saturday, but it was announced on Wednesday afternoon racing will go back behind closed doors for the rest of the week.

“I didn’t really notice any difference with the crowd today as this place swallows 5,000 people,” Dettori added.

“It’s a shame that we have to go back again, but we have to keep people safe.

“You have to do what is safe for everyone, we all know the rules until we get this corona sorted.

“Let’s hope we come back to normal soon.”

Latest Generation won the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes at Doncaster – the first race run in front of a paying crowd in Britain in almost six months.

Racing went behind closed doors from March 16 due to the outbreak of coronavirus – and just two days later the sport was cancelled entirely, ultimately not restarting until June 1.

Participation was initially restricted to essential staff – and while owners were allowed to return from July 4, hopes to stage a pilot event in front of a crowd of 5,000 at Goodwood on August 1 were scrapped at the 11th hour following a change to Government regulations.

Latest Generation in winning action at Doncaster on Wednesday
Latest Generation in winning action at Doncaster on Wednesday

Having finished a promising third on his racecourse debut at Sandown last month, Latest Generation was the 8-11 for the curtain-raiser under William Buick and was prominent from the off.

Newcomer Stay Well came with a late run and shaped with plenty of promise, but Simon and Ed Crisford’s market leader always had matters in hand and passed the post a length and a half to the good.

Buick said: “He was in front, but we went fractions to suit him, so I’m not sure how hard it was for him.

“At the end of the day he’d only had one run and was in front a long way there, but he’s done it well.

“He’ll be a nice horse for next year. I don’t think you could ask any more from him.”

Darragh Keenan steered Goddess Of Fire to a surprise victory in the Mondialiste Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster.

The one-mile contest is usually confined to retired jockeys, with such stars of the sport as Julie Krone, Mick Kinane, Sir Anthony McCoy and Joseph O’Brien among those on the roll of honour.

However, this year’s renewal was confined to professionals only, due to Covid-19 restrictions, with Frankie Dettori among those keen to support a contest that has raised more than £1.1million for Jack Berry House and the Northern Racing college since its inception in 2010.

Despite having been placed on his last couple of appearances at Beverley and Wolverhampton last month, the John Ryan-trained Goddess Of Fire was a 33-1 shot under her apprentice rider.

However, the daughter of Toronado defied her odds with a strong finishing effort to score by just under two lengths from Defence Treaty and Tony Hamilton, with The Throstles third in the hands of Ray Dawson.

Irish-born Keenan was unseated from Goddess Of Fire on his return to the winner’s enclosure, and said: “She just spooked at the camera. She can be a bit tricky, even at home. I ride her out every day, so I know her well. I like the filly and I won’t hold it against her!

“It’s been a while since I had a winner – I’ve had plenty of rides, but the winners have been dry enough. You just have to keep trying.

“I’ve been in Britain for just over four years. I work for John Ryan and I’m in there every morning. I ride out for as many people as I can, if they want me.

“I do my best to work as hard as I can and hopefully the results will come in the end and the winners will come more often.”

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