Frankie’s Absurdly Good York Adieu

What a ride as the Showman sparkles in great win

Willie Mullins and Frankie Dettori successfully combined to land the £500 000 Sky Bet Ebor at York on Saturday with Absurde.

Ireland’s perennial champion jumps trainer was bidding for a second win in one of the Flat season’s most prestigious and lucrative staying handicaps following the success of Sesenta in 2009, while Dettori was on a hat-trick after previous wins on Willing Foe (2012) and Trawlerman (2022).

Having been the toast of punters after steering 9-4 favourite Kinross to victory in the preceding City of York Stakes, the Italian jockey headed back out onto the track for what may well be his final ride on the Knavesmire before his retirement later this year.

Absurde, second to Melbourne Cup-bound stablemate Vauban at Royal Ascot in June before disappointing over hurdles at the Galway Festival, was prominent in the market at 7-1 and while he had to be led down to the start by Dettori, causing a delay, he was as good as gold during race itself.

Enjoy the replay:

The five-year-old travelled smoothly towards the front of the pack halfway up the straight – and while 5-2 favourite Sweet William and Live In The Dream both kept him honest, Absurde found plenty against the stands’ rail to see them off by half a length and the same.

“In the last 100 yards I saw Rab (Havlin) coming (on Sweet William), my best mate, and I thought ‘that’s it I’m beat’, but all credit to him (Absurde) – he showed some guts and stuck his neck out,” Dettori told ITV Racing.

“He’s a horse that needs cover and I found myself in the front three out so all I was thinking was I’d messed it up.

He will always be number 1! Frankie enjoys an Absurde moment after his big win (Pic – Racing TV)

“What can I say, I’ve won the Ebor on my last ride (at York) – it’s mad. I thought if I win on Kinross then great but I didn’t expect this one so it’s double sweet.”

Paddy Power cut the winner to 8-1 from 10-1 for both the Cesarewitch and the Irish Cesarewitch, while he is 20-1 from 40-1 for the Melbourne Cup.

Dettori would be quite happy to take the ride in Australia in the hope of finally winning one of the few major races on the international stage to still elude him.

He added: “I did say to Willie I was going Down Under so I’ve asked him to consider me and he said he will, so we’ll see!”

Mullins said: “Frankie has shown us what he can do. I thought he was beaten half a furlong out, I don’t know where Frankie got his energy from in the last 100 yards.

“He pulled that one out of the fire I thought, he was brilliant on him.

“He’s a monkey and he always is at home but he hasn’t done anything like that for a while (refused to go to the start). It’s what he does if you let him get away with it. He’s been very good at home recently but it is in him.

“I’ll have to have a word with the owners about Melbourne, they are at a family do today but I’m sure they’d love to go.

“He’ll have no problem passing the vet, if they do a brain scan he might have a problem!

“What a remarkable jockey, you guys have known for a long time but I thought Frankie was brilliant.”

Dettori had earlier saluted the packed grandstands on what could be his final day riding at York as Kinross comfortably defended his crown in the Sky Bet City of York Stakes.

Frankie does the flying dismount off Kinross (Pic – Racing TV)

The six-year-old was out to complete a quickfire big-race double for trainer Ralph Beckett and owner Marc Chan following Angel Bleu’s Celebration Mile success at Goodwood less than half an hour earlier and his supporters will have had few concerns.

Kinross was the 9-4 favourite to secure his 10th career victory and having travelled well in midfield for much of the seven-furlong contest, he picked up so well once popped the question by Dettori that the popular Italian was able to raise his fist in delight for the final few strides.

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