Golden Horn crosses generation gap
Few remarriages have been so wildly successful as the one between John Gosden and Frankie Dettori, who combined here for the latest success of a sensational summer when landing the Eclipse Stakes with Golden Horn. The colt, last seen winning the Derby, is now unbeaten in five runs.
Dettori, now 44, was winning his third Eclipse but this, his first for 11 years, will have been the most significant to him by a long way and not just because it cements his association with such an exciting young horse.
Two years ago, the Italian had become so unfashionable that an end to his career seemed on the horizon, and even at the beginning of this season there was no reason to imagine that the future could be so bright.
"I started in March with nothing," he said in the winner's enclosure, hamming it up for the cameras, "and now I've won the Eclipse, Derby, Prix de Diane, Golden Jubilee, I mean, it's mad, absolutely mad. What a horse. Superstar. I've got no words to describe how good he is."
"You're a monster," he roared at Golden Horn before pointing out the webbing that was holding his left boot together. "I wore these for the Derby, ripped them on day one of Royal Ascot, wore them all through Ascot and retired them after the Golden Jubilee. Then yesterday, I called my valet and said, 'Get them back.'"
It is unlikely that the rather more sober Gosden participates in such acts of superstition but the Golden Horn camp may have felt their luck had run out when their horse was drawn in stall one for this race, right against the inside rail. The obvious risk was that he could be boxed in, crawling along behind the leader with two horses on the outside, penning him in.
Gosden and Dettori felt the only possible response was to bounce out and make the running, and it is some testament to the trainer's openness that he said so in public on Friday.
When the stalls opened, and after only a short hesitation, Golden Horn did indeed go to the front and there he stayed throughout. His only challenger at any point was The Grey Gatsby, which deserves plenty of credit for making a proper race of it. The Grey Gatsby, ridden by Jamie Spencer, moved up alongside Golden Horn at the top of the straight and seemed to be travelling the better for about a furlong. "Jamie rode a great race," Dettori said, "because he knew what I was up to. He took me on three-out, got upsides at the two and my horse had a chance to give in but he showed what a true champion he is, he knuckled down. It's the sign of a very, very good horse."
The next chance to see the colt could come as soon as Ascot's King George in three weeks' time, a race apparently favoured by his owner, Anthony Oppenheimer, whose family sponsored it for decades. Dettori also pointed towards the King George, for which his mount is now no bigger than 6/4, but Gosden was more reserved: "A day at a time, a week at a time, the horse'll tell me. I watch, I listen, that's my job. It's up to the horse."
Gosden, who is a long way down the road towards a second champion trainer's title, is making a habit of doing unprecedented things. Having become the first trainer to win the English and Irish Derbies with different horses in the same year, he has helped Golden Horn become the first to complete the Dante-Derby-Eclipse treble.
Sunday Indo Sport