Dettori geared for Poet push
It may be 14 years since Frankie Dettori exploded on to the public's conscience with his 'Magnificent Seven' at Ascot, but it is still fresh in the Italian's memory.
His feat has never been close to being emulated since at even a humdrum midweek meeting, never mind a showpiece affair with Group One races on the card.
While it would be folly to suggest that a repeat is in the offing this weekend, Dettori holds a strong chance in the Fillies' Mile with the supplemented White Moonstone, and it would not be the biggest shock in the world were Poet's Voice to put up a big performance in the feature race, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Denied by the shortest of margins two outings ago in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury, Poet's Voice won what was admittedly a weak renewal of the Celebration Mile at Goodwood.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor has been so pleased with him since, connections supplemented him into the Sony-sponsored Group One on Saturday.
"At the moment I'm happy with Poet's Voice, although he needs to step up again," said Dettori. "It still only seems like yesterday that I had the 'Magnificent Seven'. It's a special place to me and I hope to do well again."
Poet's Voice is an 11/1 chance with Stan James, who cannot split the 'big two' of Canford Cliffs and Makfi, which head the betting at 13/8 after the former drifted from 5/4.
"Canford Cliffs has never run with the title 'soft' in the going description and, with heavy showers forecast for Ascot, that is why punters have deserted him in favour of the 2,000 Guineas winner," said Stan James' Charlie McCann, who has pushed Aidan O'Brien's Rip Van Winkle out to 4/1.
However, Canford Cliffs thrilled Richard Hannon in his final serious piece of work yesterday morning.
"Angel's Pursuit is a decent sprinter, which was second in last year's Mill Reef Stakes and has won a Listed race this season, so nobody could say that this was a 'Jim'll Fix It' gallop," said Hannon.
"The big race is still three days away and horses can change quickly, but we will have him scoped and if his reading is good I see no reason why he should not be very hard to beat at Ascot.
"A drop of rain would not bother us, though I'd rather we did not get too much as that would favour Makfi, but there are no easy Group One races and we know that Canford Cliffs will have to be bang on song.
"However, I am just concentrating on my horse, and I have seen Canford Cliffs improve so much, both physically and mentally, since Royal Ascot. He was difficult to settle in the spring, but he now relaxes so well and looks a million dollars."
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, latest betting -- 13/8 Canford Cliffs, Makfi, 4/1 Rip Van Winkle, 11/1 Poet's Voice, 20/1 Hearts Of Fire, Steinbeck, 25/1 bar.