Frankie Dettori bounced back from drawing a blank on the first day of Royal Ascot to land a double including Crystal Ocean in the Prince of Wales's Stakes
Ascot (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Frankie Dettori can never be kept quiet for long and the irrepressible Italian jockey duly struck twice at Royal Ascot on Wednesday after drawing a blank on the first day.
The 48-year-old took his Royal Ascot total to 62 in winning the feature race of the day the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Crystal Ocean and the 18⁄1 outsider Raffle Prize in the Queen Mary Stakes.
Dettori had to work hard pumping away on Crystal Ocean down the finishing straight to repel the favourite Magical for the colt’s first Group One.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shelters from the rain on day two of Royal Ascot
Magical’s rider Ryan Moore’s cause was not helped by the meandering course the filly took in the driving rain but the Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean fully deserved his first success at the top level.
Dettori produced his trademark flying dismount as Barbados-born Stoute extended his overall trainers record at the meeting to an astonishing 80 winners.
“He’s a heavyweight of the sport, never runs a bad race,” Dettori said.
“He was full of running and I felt it was going to take a good one to get past me.”
Stoute recovered after being bear-hugged by Dettori to praise on the winner.
“He is a high-class horse and I’m delighted to win a Group One now, he deserves that,” said the 73-year-old.
“He is a fine horse, a special horse.”
Moore was far from despondent.
“Magical ran a cracker. The ground got bad, but she ran well,” said Moore.
Dettori had produced a similarly tenacious ride when he struck in the first race on Raffle Prize.
Dettori snapped at the heels of American pace setter Kimari and eventually wore her down to get the Mark Johnston-trained runner’s nose in front on the line and deny American trainer Wesley Ward a fourth win in the race.
Dettori had won the 2016 Queen Mary on Lady Aurelia, who was trained by Ward.
“When I saw Wesley’s horse upsides, I thought, oh my God, he’s a good friend of mine, if I beat him, he will go crazy!” said Dettori.
Johnston – whose trademark tartan waistcoat brightened up the gloom – eulogised about Dettori.
“No disrespect to Lester Piggott (who rode a record 116 Royal Ascot winners), but is Frankie Dettori not the greatest jockey?” said the Scotsman.
Ward, who has had 10 winners at Royal Ascot, took defeat philosophically.
“If I hadn’t had the success I have had in the past with being in the winner’s enclosure here, I’d be elated,” he said.
- ‘Needed it today’ -
Oisin Murphy bounced back from being prevented from riding on Sunday due to a failed breath test to drive home the Andrew Balding-trained Dashing Willoughby in the Queen’s Vase.
Oisin Murphy said it was especially important to win his first race at this year's Royal Ascot after failing a breath test at Salisbury on Sunday
The 23-year-old Irishman – who is leading the jockey’s championship – punched the air in delight after crossing the line and pumped his fists as he entered the winners enclosure.
“It is always important at Royal Ascot to get your first winner on the board, but I felt I especially needed it today,” said Murphy.
Danny Tudhope may not be as fashionable a jockey as Dettori or Murphy but he is not doing too shabbily given it is an occupation he took up on the advice of a careers advisor.
The 33-year-old Scotsman is enjoying a purple patch at Ascot landing his third winner of the meeting getting the better of Dettori in a no holds barred duel before prevailing on Move Swiftly in the Group Two The Duke of Cambridge Stakes.
Tudhope, who recently reached the 1000 winners landmark, will be off to the less glamorous venue of Ripon in Yorkshire on Thursday.
“I could not have imagined riding three winners at the start of the week but we are having a great week and I am riding for good people,” he said.
“I could not do it without them.”