A superb final day treble on Campanelle, Alpine Star and Palace Pier saw Frankie Dettori pip Jim Crowley in the race to be crowned top jockey at this year’s Royal Ascot.
Both jockeys recorded six wins over the meeting, with Dettori taking the honours on countback thanks to four second places.
Dettori, recording a seventh Royal Ascot leading jockey award, said: “What a day! I woke up this morning thinking I had some great rides. I really fancied Wesley Ward’s filly [Campanelle] and I fancied Jessica Harrington’s [Alpine Star]. Palace Pier was in at the deep end but I thought that if things dropped right, he could have a chance.
“It has been an unbelievable day and an unbelievable Royal Ascot. To come out of here with six wins is not easy. You can sit back and say what you want, this will win and that will win, but you still have to go out there and do it. I’ve had some great ammunition with all different owners and trainers, and it’s been a successful and fun week for me.”
On being asked what it meant to equal Pat Eddery’s total of 73 Royal Ascot winners, Dettori replied: “I sat next to Pat for 15 years; he was one of my heroes, I used to nickname him ‘God’ and to equal him gives me great satisfaction, God bless him.”
John Gosden claimed a second Royal Ascot leading trainer title, following on from 2012, with six wins during the meeting. All of his successes came in Group races, including G1 victories for Stradivarius in the Gold Cup, Lord North in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and Palace Pier in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Gosden said: “I thought we had a good, solid team and I loved the way they were coming up to their races. The only thing that threw me off-cue was the rain. A few of them hated the ground, but we did have a good team. I don’t think we’ve been unlucky in anything. Terebellum [second] had every chance in the Queen Anne. I had no bad luck stories. It’s been good, clean racing. It’s a wonderful achievement for British racing and Ascot and it is a great testament to how we can all act together. We’ve done it safely, behind closed doors and bio-secure. We do have the advantage of also being in open, massive spaces. We have to be very proud of ourselves.
“I was hopeful for three winners, maybe four. Six is way beyond expectations. Full marks to my staff throughout lockdown. They have all come in and no-one has missed anything. They had the option to stay at home and be furloughed but none of them did. They wanted to come in and be with the horses – it’s all down to the staff.
“It’s wonderful for the staff, it’s not easy during lockdown and not knowing what you are training for. We were lucky that we are out in the open air training on Newmarket Heath, we are far luckier than people in high-rise cities. We have nothing to complain about, the horses came fresh and well into the three weeks of racing we’ve had. Full marks to the staff doing a great job with the horses.
“It’s a great credit to our owners and staff. It’s not easy to win one race here let alone six. It’s not easy aiming horses at a moving target in terms of the dates, but it’s great to have some winners this week.”
Asked for his highlight of the week, Gosden pinpointed Stradivarius’ scintillating third successive victory in the Gold Cup. He commented: “The old boy Stradivarius was a bit of an exhibitionist in the pre-parade ring then he came into the parade ring and he was a cool dude. He ran his race with that coolness.
“I promise you he is a better horse on fast ground. OK he won his race, but he is a much better horse on fast ground. To do it in that ground and cruise was brilliant. He has beaten Vazirabad, Order Of St George, Torcedor and Big Orange. He has taken on big horses and he is just a small little horse.”
Coolmore had claimed the leading owner title for all three years since the award’s inception but the partnership’s domination was broken by Hamdan Al Maktoum, who enjoyed a superb Royal Ascot with six victories over the five days. His tally included a sensational sprinting display from Battaash in the G1 King’s Stand Stakes.
Angus Gold, racing manager to Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “It was fantastic to see Battaash come back and do that for a third year running, having had his bottom smacked the last two times. It was lovely to see him go and do it and do it decisively. I am sure that everyone will agree that, on the formbook, he should have won like that but it is always nice to go and see them do it.
“It has been such a bizarre year for everybody. Every year, we try and get horses for Ascot – like everybody does. Normally, you will get three or four run well and quite a lot run badly. What has been so extraordinary this year is, almost without exception, they have all run well. Even the horses that haven’t won have run well.
“We went into it thinking we didn’t have any runners in either Guineas and I thought that we didn’t have horses for the St James’s Palace, Coronation or King Edward VII. I was thinking that we were down on quality for the three-year-olds. The two-year-old we had going into the winter was Molatham and we decided not to run him in the Guineas, but to come down in trip for the Jersey in case he didn’t see out the trip because we felt he didn’t stay at Newmarket last autumn. That was obviously very satisfactory to see him come and do it.
“Then to see the Dubawi horse [Khaloosy] of Roger’s win the Britannia Stakes like that was a lovely surprise. He had been working like a nice horse but I didn’t expect him to go and win like that.
“It has been a great week for Jim Crowley and I am sorry that he got chinned by Lanfranco at the end, just for his sake. I can’t feel too sorry for him as he had the pleasure of riding six winners and I am sure that he would have settled for that at the start of the week. He just had a bit of bad luck on Mohaather, which was the only one that really got away, but we all learned to accept that.
“I am thrilled for Sheikh Hamdan and just sorry for him – he puts so much in the game – that, like all the owners, he couldn’t be here to enjoy it.”
Karen can usually be found glued to her computer or at the stables. Having edited several national magazines she co-founded Eclipse Magazine in 2008 after realising that many of her friends were nervous about going racing due to lack of information – what to wear, how to bet etc.
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