The Frankie Factor: Will Dettori leave the bookmakers reeling on Champions Day?

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Sat 17 Oct 2020
 Dettori has five rides at Ascot on Champions Day (PA)
Dettori has five rides at Ascot on Champions Day (PA)

Frankie Dettori will be the man that the bookmakers fear on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.

The 49-year-old is known by some as "Mr Ascot" and famously rode all seven winners on the same card in September 1996, leaving the layers on their knees.

He has ridden at least one winner on Champions Day every year since 2015 and his haul of seven victories at the meeting is more than anybody else has managed.

Many punters will shun the formbook and merely put whatever Dettori rides in accumulator bets. As things stand the Frankie five-timer would pay about 2,660-1 but it's rarely that easy.

Here's what Dettori has had to say about his rides in his blog for Sporting Index, including why he has chosen Mishriff over stablemate Lord North in the Qipco Champion Stakes.

1.20: Stradivarius (11-10)

I love Champions Day. Every sport has its final and we have this event to bring all the great horses together on one day to compete in their categories. The only shame this year is that there’ll be no crowds of course.

Stradivarius has come out of the Arc very well. I rode him in the week and he tried to buck me off, which just goes to show how little the race took out of him.

We were beaten a nose in this 12 months ago and I think we come into the race stronger this year. In the past I have always been worried about the soft ground with him, but he proved in the Gold Cup that he can handle it well.

Dermot Weld’s filly, Search For A Song, is the one I fear most, but I’m on the best stayer in the world and he’s a worthy favourite.

After that, I know Bjorn Nielsen’s intention is to keep him going for a fourth Gold Cup. We’re only one away from the mighty Yeats and, touch wood, he stays fit and well so we can have another go.

The Dettori trademark! How many flying dismounts will there be from him on Saturday?

2.30: Mehdaayih (14-1)

I had the choice between her and Frankly Darling and it was a close call.

We’ve always thought a lot of Mehdaayih and don’t forget, she won the Cheshire Oaks on soft ground and was favourite for the Oaks but got knocked about. She always threatened to be a real top horse.

I rode her most recently in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes where she ran quite well and she’s then had a nice break to get her ready for this.

She’s been coming along nicely and, though she’s a big price, her homework has been very good and it looks a wide-open race.

3.05: Palace Pier (4-6)

We thought ahead of the season that he could have been a Guineas horse, but then he was being quite lazy in his work at home and we weren’t sure if he was good enough.

John [Gosden] was clever in giving him every chance to develop and then after his run in a handicap at Newcastle the penny dropped and he became a racehorse.

He’s gone on to win a St James’s Palace and beat a very strong field in the Prix Jacques le Marois and is yet to find a horse who can get past him.

I have every faith that we can run another big race, but we have to remember that the QEII is always a tough contest where you’re up against older horses.

Dettori has always been the man for the big occasion. Watch how he dominated in Group One races last year

3.40: Mishriff (7-2)

He’s a French Derby winner with low mileage and I think he could still be improving, that’s why I picked him over Lord North.

The mile and a quarter at Ascot is tricky when you’ve got a big field like this as the first bend comes up early so we’ve got to be alert from the off. This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge he’s ever faced but I think he’s in there with a good chance.

You’ve got the Derby winner in there, William Haggas’ Addeybb who’s been in top form and then there’s Magical who might have a double figure tally of Group 1s if it wasn’t for Enable!

Looking further ahead with Mishriff, given he’s only three, and I think the Arc could potentially be the target for him next year.

4.15: Alternative Fact (12-1)

We were third in the Silver Royal Hunt Cup off 7lb lower earlier in the summer and he’s run well since too. He handles soft ground and it looks a wide-open race so you’ve got to hope you’re in there with a chance.

Last year, I got beat on Lord North and he turned out to be a Group One winner, so you can never be too sure.

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