Wednesday 7 December 2016

Dettori delight at Undrafted sprint win

Greg Wood

Published 21/06/2015 | 02:30

Frankie Dettori: 'I saved a bit'
Frankie Dettori: 'I saved a bit'

He had been operating in the shadow of Ryan Moore all week, and paid tribute to Moore's achievements afterwards, but at this track above all, Frankie Dettori generally has the last word. Dettori came from last to first in the final third of the race on Undrafted to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, and with no more rides to come on the card, he eagerly gulped champagne afterwards as he soaked up the moment.

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Where Dettori was exuberant, however, Wesley Ward, who had just become the first American trainer to saddle a Group One winner at this meeting, was closer to tears of exhaustion. Ward had spent Friday night and yesterday morning at a hospital after Danae, his daughter, was taken ill. Though she recovered in time to accompany him to the winners' enclosure, the strain took a toll on her father.

"I don't know what happened but my daughter got a touch of the Bell's palsy," Ward said. "It didn't look like we were going to make it but we did."

As soon as Ward manages to bank an night's sleep, the magnitude of his achievement may dawn on him. Ward has had winners at this meeting before, but this was his first with an older horse, and in one of the week's feature events. Undrafted also beat one of Australia's best sprinters, Brazen Beau, into second, and Ward, who had a one-two at the Breeders' Cup meeting at Santa Anita last November, nominated Undrafted's success as the highlight of his training career to date.

"The horse has been training unbelievably well," he said. "Frankie is superb. You can have a Porsche against Porsches, but you've still got to have the right guy, and this is a magical guy. He's a cool sitter and a go-getter, as they say. This is the biggest race I've won. To come here and be presented with a Group One trophy by the Queen was such a fantastic experience."

Dettori was aboard Undrafted when he finished fourth in the July Cup at Newmarket last year - a race that may be the gelding's next stop - and enjoyed every second of his last-to-first surge through the final quarter mile.

"I won this when it was a Group Three but not as a Group One, so it was missing on my CV," Dettori said. "He jumped out of the gates like an American horse, but I took a pull as I didn't want to get there too early. I kept an eye on the Australian horse [Brazen Beau], and when we kicked on, I knew it would take a good one to get by him. When you sit on a sprinter like that, you get a great feeling. I kept an eye on the yellow colours but every time this horse runs, he finishes strong, so I saved the last bit for the end."

Undrafted is part-owned by Wes Welker, a former star wide receiver for the Denver Broncos NFL team, who is currently being linked with a move to "America's team", the Dallas Cowboys. His horse's achievement, Ward believes, may now herald an influx of challengers from the United States at next year's Royal meeting and beyond.

"They'll be here now," Ward said. "I get a lot of people asking me and saying they want to do it, but they'll be figuring their own way to get over here. This is an international event and, hopefully, when they do come and get them right on the day, they won't beat me. But if they do, they do. Ascot has been a big shot in the arm for my career.

"I think they're wary of coming over because it's a long way home if you get back, but with Graham [Motion, who saddled Miss Temple City to finish fourth in the Coronation Stakes] running so well, I think they could be coming for all sorts of races."

Snow Sky seemed likely to be racing in long-distance races after winning the Yorkshire Cup but made all the running at 12-1 in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes to prompt a possible change of plan for trainer Sir Michael Stoute. Stoute also saddled Telescope, the favourite, but he faded as Snow Sky quickened at the top of the home straight.

"That was a surprise but a nice one," Stoute said. "We thought we might be going to Melbourne with him, now we might have to have a rethink."

Stoute did not enter Snow Sky in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at this course next month, but the colt could be added to the race at the supplementary stage.

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