Frankie Dettori once again showed why he is the king of Ascot as his Thursday four-timer proved the highlight of another thrilling Royal Ascot.
The Italian so famously scored a ‘Magnificent Seven’ as he went through the card at the track back in September 1996 and while he failed to match that achievement, his sparkling form across the week grabbed all the headlines for racing’s greatest showman.
It is some 15 years since Dettori claimed the top jockey title at the meeting, but now in the twilight of his career, he showed he is still the man for the big day when beating off Ryan Moore for the Qipco-sponsored accolade.
While Dettori stole the show, there were many other noteworthy performances to mention. We look back over five days of glorious action in Berkshire:
Day 1 – Tuesday
Aidan O’Brien simply reinforced the fact he is a master of his craft as his decision, along with the Coolmore team, to supplement Circus Maximus for the St James’s Palace Stakes paid rich dividends. The Galileo colt did not appear to quite stay the Derby trip when sixth at Epsom, but switched back to a mile, he forged ahead in the final furlong to gain a valuable neck success.
Day 2 – Wednesday
Crystal Ocean’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes victory was richly deserved after a string of near misses and further underlined Sir Michael Stoute’s outstanding level of achievement at the Royal meeting. He might not be sending out the Group One winners at quite the rate of old, but his patience and planning usually yields rewards and Crystal Ocean’s win will have provided plenty of satisfaction for the trainer, who was saddling an incredible 80th winner at the fixture.
Day 3 – Thursday
Day three belonged to Frankie Dettori, who briefly looked as though he could achieve the impossible and go through the card. Following the victories of A’Ali, Sangarius and Star Catcher, Dettori topped a fantastic four-timer with a thrilling Gold Cup win aboard the defending champion Stradivarius. The crowd was buzzing and the bookies were sweating in the final furlong of the fifth race, the Britannia Stakes, as Dettori’s mount Turgenev was in the lead, but Biometric swept through to win, saving the layers from a devastating day.
Day 4 – Friday
Hayley Turner ended a 32-year wait for female riders as she steered Thanks Be to a last-gasp victory in the Sandringham Stakes. Gay Kelleway had previously been the only lady to ride a winner at the meeting, but dual Group One-winning jockey Turner, who has so capably led the way for female pilots, now joins that elite club.
Day 5 – Saturday
Blue Point added his name to the history books as he became the first horse since Choisir in 2003 to complete the King’s Stand-Diamond Jubilee Stakes double. Triumphant in a flying finish with Battaash over the minimum trip on Tuesday, Blue Point took the switch back up to six furlongs in his stride as he found plenty for pressure under James Doyle to repel the finishing spurt of Dream Of Dreams. While Choisir did the double 16 years ago, the King’s Stand was only a Group Two at that stage, so Blue Point has an extra feather in his cap with both sprints now boasting Group One status.