As we move into the summer months, the stream of top-class racing festivals continues to roll off the conveyor belt, with the magnificent Royal Ascot meeting lighting up June once more. It’s just the latest edition of the Berkshire bonanza for many, but for a certain Italian jockey this will be his final outing at the biggest meeting of the year, at the course with which he will forever be associated.
However, having bid farewell to Royal Ascot, there’s still plenty to look forward to for Frankie Dettori. Looming ever larger as the next major event on the horizon is the Glorious Goodwood festival, which replaces the pomp and pageantry of Ascot with Panama’s and Pimms in the beautiful Sussex countryside.
Much like the majority of top-class race meetings in the UK – and around the world – Goodwood has not remained untouched by the magic of Dettori. A total of three Group 1 contests take place over the five days of this meeting – this year taking place between 1st and 5th August – and Dettori has won them all. With the sun beginning to set on one of the greatest riding careers of the modern era, here we look back at those moments when Dettori shone brightest in Goodwood’s Group 1 events.
- Two Wins
- Lailani (2001), Ouija Board (2006)
Dettori’s first win in the big event for the fillies came aboard the remarkable Lailani. This Ed Dunlop-trained daughter of Unfuwain had shown next to nothing in her juvenile campaign but put all that behind her in a truly spectacular three-year-old season. Beginning in a lowly maiden, Lailani swept all before here in a seven-race winning streak, with Dettori the man in the saddle for five of those victories. Highlights included a tenacious success in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh and a smooth victory in this event.
Five years after Lailani, came one of the greatest fillies Dettori ever had the fortune to ride. Also hailing from the Ed Dunlop yard, the brilliant Ouija Board won seven times at the highest level, with standout moments coming in the English and Irish Oaks, the Hong Kong Vase and Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf (twice). When looking back at the career of Ouija Board, perhaps none of her wins were quite so thrilling as her 2006 success in this race when just outduelling Alexander Goldrun in a pulsating battle, in what many believe to be the greatest ever edition of the race.
- Five Wins
- Kayf Tara (1999), Schiaparelli (2009), Opinion Poll (2011), Stradivarius (2019, 2020)
With eight wins in the Ascot Gold Cup, five in the Doncaster Cup, seven in the Yorkshire Cup, and seven in the Lonsdale Cup, Frankie Dettori has regularly proved to be the man for the big occasion in the major staying events of the year. Bulging that haul still further are his five successes in this two-mile event.
The brilliant stayer – and subsequent top-class National Hunt sire – Kayf Tara was the first to take Dettori into the winner’s enclosure in 1999, followed by the Godolphin duo of Schiaparelli and Opinion Poll. However, the best of the bunch was the incomparable Stradivarius. Having already won the 2017 and 2018 editions of the race under Andrea Atzeni, the sensational son of Sea the Stars then went back-to-back with Dettori in the saddle in 2019 and 2020. The winning margin may only have been a neck in the first of those successes, but that didn’t stop Llanfranco from doing his best “superman” celebration in advance of the line.
- Five Wins
- Second Set (1991), Aljabr (1999), Noverre (2001), Ramonti (2007), Too Darn Hot (2019)
Frankie’s first Group 1 Glorious Goodwood success came five years before the “Magnificent Seven”, as he partnered Second Set to victory for one of his closest early allies, Luca Cumani. Having missed out by just a head in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, Dettori made no mistake at Goodwood, powering clear in the closing stages to master the talented mare, Shadayid.
Now riding in the Godolphin blue, that pattern was repeated in 1999 and 2001, with both Aljabr and Noverre having been beaten into second at Ascot, before rewarding supporters at this meeting. 2007 champ Ramonti was, however, only confirming his dominance of the mile division having already bagged the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal Meeting.
Win number five came courtesy of another Royal Ascot also-ran, this time in the shape of the John Gosden-trained Too Darn Hot. Touted as the next big thing following an unbeaten juvenile campaign, this son of super sire Dubawi didn’t quite live up to the hype, but he wasn’t too far off it. Beaten in the Dante Stakes, the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes, Too Darn Hot bounced back in the Prix Jean Prat and headed to Goodwood as the red-hot favourite. Briefly looking in trouble when short of room at the furlong pole, Dettori’s patience and experience came to the fore and, having angled out to find the gap, there was only ever likely to be one winner.
For Dettori, this continued a fine association with this family, having ridden Grandsire Dubai Millennium to Group 1 glory in the Dubai World Cup, his son Dubawi to top-level success in the Irish 2,000, and Too Darn Hot’s Dam’s Sire Singspiel to a quartet of Group 1 triumphs. A fine testament to just how long Dettori has been doing it at the top level, and how much of a miss he will be.