Frankie Dettori won the first four races on the Royal Ascot card on Thursday! The Italian rider completed his 449/1 four-timer with a dramatic victory aboard the John Gosden-trained Stradivarius, the even-money favourite, in the feature £500,000 Gr1 Gold Cup.
Britain’s best-known jockey, who loves Ascot more than any other course, was even himself contemplating that he could ride all six winners on Day 4.
He of course completed the ‘Magnificent Seven’ – partnering all seven winners at the Festival of Racing at Ascot in October, 1996 which had cumulative odds of 25,051/1.
Five-year-old Sea The Stars entire Stradivarius met trouble in the home straight as he was hemmed in behind a wall of horses.
However, once the gap opened, Stradivarius showed his brave and battling qualities to forge ahead inside the final furlong and held on gamely to win by a length from 7/2 shot Dee Ex Bee, trained by Mark Johnston, in second.
Stradivarius becomes the first horse since Yeats (2006-2009) to win back-to-back renewals of the Gr1 Gold Cup.
Dettori’s other victories came aboard A’Ali (Gr2 Norfolk Stakes, 5/1, Simon Crisford), Sangarius (Gr3 Hampton Court Stakes, 13/2, Sir Michael Stoute) and Star Catcher (Gr2 Ribblesdale Stakes, 4/1, John Gosden).
Dettori has now ridden 66 winners at the Royal Meeting overall and this was his sixth victory of the week at the Berkshire venue following his two on Wednesday.
The 48-year-old racing legend said: “Stradivarius is an amazing horse. He is now unbeaten in his last seven starts. He has won two Ascot Gold Cups – his heart is bigger than his body.Stradivarius does not know how to lose. All I have to do is get him amongst other horses and he does the rest – what a horse. For a stayer, this lad has everything. He loves getting into a fight and he is a brilliant horse to ride.Everyone loves him, including me. It is fantastic for the stable, Bjorn Nielsen (owner/breeder) and everybody else involved… I am so thrilled.
Not unnaturally winning trainer John Gosden was asked to comment on the jockey as much as the horse. He said: “Frankie is like a player who gets to the final of Wimbledon and then raises it to another level. He rode a beautiful race.
“He is a phenomenon – for a kid of 48 he is remarkable. And when he rides here he goes to another level. He’s been in the gym, working out, and then he comes and rides out for me, and he’s so relaxed. The horses are here to do a job, but he does it so beautifully with them and that makes a difference.
In a memorable footnote to the Gold Cup for the Kieswetter family of Ridgemont Highlands, who are attending the festival, they stand Stradivarius half sister Magical Eve, a stakes-placed daughter of Avontuur Danehill sire Oratorio.
The pair are out of the deceased Bering mare Private Life, a dual winner and Listed-placed over an extended 2400m for her owner-breeders the Wildenstein family.