It’s difficult to really put into words the scale of Frankie Dettori’s achievement in completing the ‘magnificent seven.’
For those not in the know, it was in September 1995 that the ever-popular Italian jockey did the almost unthinkable – winning seven races at a single meeting.
And not just any old meeting either. This was a quality event at Ascot, with many of the leading jockeys, trainers and owners in town on that fateful day.
🤠 Frankie Dettori was 25 on 'Magnificent Seven' day— Sporting Life (@SportingLife) December 15, 2020
🏆 Wall Street (2/1)
🏆 Diffident (12/1)
🏆 Mark Of Esteem (100/30)
🏆 Decorated Hero (7/1)
🏆 Fatefully (7/4)
🏆 Lochangel (5/4)
🏆 Fujiyama Crest (2/1)
And he's still going strong at 50!pic.twitter.com/WpFRWypWS1
It’s hard to compare this extraordinary effort to any other bout of sporting perfection, but for context Frankie’s seven-timer was a result felt all around the world. He took the bookmakers for an estimated £40 million, with some punters reporting life-changing sums of money coming their way after backing the Dettori multiple.
The day transcended the sport and caught the attention of those that might not even consider themselves racing fans – indeed, Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven remains one of the most popular online slot games around, and one that is widely available at those casinos which offer free spins on card registration.
Seeing as though we are approaching the 25th anniversary of Dettori’s day in racing heaven, what better time to relive the Italian’s magnificence in all its glory.
Race One – Wall Street
The meeting at Ascot on September 28, 1996, got underway with the Cumberland Lodge Stakes.
Perhaps in an omen of the huge sums of money that would later exchange hands, Dettori’s opening ride was called Wall Street.
The horse was highly fancied to prevail at 2/1, and with Dettori in the saddle supplying a consummate ride Wall Street prevailed with ease.
Race Two – Diffident
At this point, anyone backing the seven-timer will have barely broken a sweat given that Frankie’s second ride of the day, Diffident, was not expected to win.
The 12/1 shot had enjoyed a fairly nondescript career to that point, but he found something he liked in the Ascot ground and scraped home by barely even a nose to triumph in the Diadem Stakes.
Race Three – Mark of Esteem
The standout race of the day was the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and Dettori – always popular company for Her Majesty – must have sensed something special was in the air.
His mount, Mark of Esteem, was a decent horse but was expected to come up shy against Bosra Sham, the 1,000 Guineas champion.
However, Dettori timed his steed’s charge for the line perfectly, opening up a one-and-a-quarter length gap to shock what many considered to be the best one-miler in Europe.
Race Four – Decorated Hero
Hat-trick secured, Frankie’s attention turned to the Tote Festival Handicap.
The difficulty was that his horse, Decorated Hero, was carrying the top weight, and so any growing hopes of the seven-timer looked set to be dashed.
But the jockey once again pulled a near miracle out of the bag, powering his heavily-treated horse to the line in first with a comfortable three-length margin of victory.
Race Five – Fatefully
Whispers were abounding about the potential for a magnificent seven, and the BBC were so convinced that they decided to stay on the air past their scheduled end time to see if Dettori could do it.
First, he would have to navigate the Rosemary Stakes aboard an ominously-named mount called Fatefully.
But the Italian need not have worried, as the 7/4 favourite proved true to his market standing and just saw off the threat of Abeyr.
Race Six – Lochangel
The famous five became the super six as Dettori took the spoils in the Blue Seal Stakes.
His horse, Lochangel, was still only a two-year-old maiden at this point, but any doubters were made to eat their words as Frankie expertly cajoled a horse that was only too willing to victory.
Six down, one to go… he couldn’t, could he?
Race Seven – Fujiyama Crest
The name ‘Fujiyama Crest’ might not mean much to the average horse racing fan, but for Frankie Dettori it’s a name that will be etched onto his heart forever.
The horse was a 12/1 shot on the morning of the Gordon Carter Handicap, but given Frankie’s exploits on the day had been backed into 2/1 favouritism.
Fujiyama Crest was known as an unconventional sort that rarely played ball with his jockey, but on this occasion, he was the picture of calm – belying his status as the top weight.
The rest as they say is history, and Fujiyama Crest lived out the rest of his life as Frankie’s own pet horse… and here we are 25 years later still talking about Dettori’s achievement in a career packed with them.
Jack Timms is an independent writer with 8 years experience in writing sports articles for various magazines and newspapers. Most of his work is on horse racing or football, and he has written for magazines such as Thoroughbred Racing and Luxuria Lifestyle. Jack lives in York with his dog, Poppins.