Frankie Dettori turns back clock and revives memories of Magnificent Seven

Thu 20 Jun 2019

There was an anti-climactic end to a remarkable day three at Royal Ascot after Frankie Dettori came close to creating another piece history.

Almost 23 years on from the ‘Magnificent Seven’ at the Berkshire circuit in September 1996, there was a genuine feeling that everyone watching was about to witness another extraordinary feat from the popular Italian, after he landed the first four races.

Victory in the Norfolk Stakes on Simon Crisford’s A’Ali was followed by success on Sir Michael Stoute’s Sangarius in Hampton Court, while the John Gosden-trained Star Catcher completed the popular Italian’s hat-trick in the Ribblesdale.

The atmosphere hit fever pitch after the superb Stradivarius successfully defended his Gold Cup crown for the Gosden-Dettori combination and it seemed almost inevitable at that stage that he would go through the card.

Having been as big as 25-1 earlier in the day, Dettori’s fifth mount, Turgenev, went off the 7-2 favourite for the Britannia Stakes – and the packed grandstands looked on in anticipation when Dettori went clear in the final furlong.

The combination traded at 1.36 in-running on Betfair but in the end the bubble was burst as Ralph Beckett’s 28-1 shot Biometric spoiled the party in the hands of Harry Bentley, lunging late to emerge victorious.

South Pacific led home a one-two-three for Aidan O’Brien in the concluding King George V Stakes, with Dettori’s mount Questionare never threatening to land a telling blow.

Picture of the day

The Queen presents the trophy to Frankie Dettori after winning the Gold Cup on Stradivarius
The Queen presents the trophy to Frankie Dettori after winning the Gold Cup on Stradivarius

The undoubted highlight of Dettori’s four-timer was the Gold Cup triumph of Stradivarius, who confirmed he remains the king of the staying division with another imperious display.

Quote of the day

20 years ago I would have won that!

There was a feeling of deflation across the land after Frankie Dettori’s hopes of going through the card evaporated on Turgenev, but the man himself could see the funny side.

Performance of the day

Frankie Dettori performs his trademark flying dismount after winning on Sangarius
Frankie Dettori performs his trademark flying dismount after winning on Sangarius

Perhaps the most taking equine performance of the day was that of Sangarius, who was thoroughly impressive in the Hampton Court Stakes. Connections have long held this gorgeous colt in high regard and he could well make his mark at the top level before the year is out.

Ride of the day

Star Catcher and Dettori win the Ribblesdale Stakes
Star Catcher and Dettori win the Ribblesdale Stakes

It would be churlish not to give Dettori this award on such an incredible afternoon and he was particularly superb on Star Catcher in the Ribblesdale. While the hot favourite Fleeting was caught too far back, Dettori always had his mount in position A – as is so often the case.

What’s next?

Ten Sovereigns will be a hot favourite for Friday's Commonwealth Cup
Ten Sovereigns will be a hot favourite for Friday's Commonwealth Cup

Two Group Ones light up Friday’s card, the first being the Commonwealth Cup, in which Aidan O’Brien’s 2000 Guineas fifth Ten Sovereigns will be all the rage to see off Hello Youmzain and Jash, among others.

It could well be a good afternoon for the Ballydoyle team as they send the dual 1000 Guineas heroine Hermosa into battle in the Coronation Stakes. The pick of Frankie Dettori’s rides could be Private Secretary, who holds strong claims in the King Edward VII Stakes.

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