Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 16 December 2017

Dettori on song with fab four

Ascot will always hold a special place in Frankie Dettori's heart and fortune favoured the Italian once again at the venue on Saturday.

Two decades on from his first ever Group One success at the track aboard Markofdistinction and 14 years after his 'magnificent seven', the Italian stole the plaudits once again as he claimed a four-timer.

Poet's Voice's nose verdict over Aidan O'Brien's gutsy Rip Van Winkle in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes was the undoubted highlight. The 9/2 shot came with a perfectly timed run to deny last year's winner in the dying strides of the mile championship, while even-money favourite Makfi ran no sort of race.

The victory of Poet's Voice followed on from Dettori's triumph aboard Godolphin stablemate White Moonstone in the Meon Valley Stud Fillies' Mile. He said: "This place has a special magic for me and I think that's five QE IIs now."

White Moonstone had to buckle down to reel in Theyskens' Theory and then hold O'Brien's Together by a fast-finishing neck to claim her slice of Group One gold. "It was a good performance and now we can dream," Dettori said.

The Italian completed a memorable double aboard the David Nicholls-trained Redford as the pair streaked away with the Challenge Cup.

The duo also won last week's Ayr Gold Cup and Dettori said: "You've got to say well done to Dandy Nicholls to win two races like this within a week. It's quite remarkable, a bit like asking Usain Bolt to run 9.8 seconds twice in a row."

The rider completed his four-timer when Rainfall showed her appreciation for a drop in class to take the October Stakes. While Dettori dominated the afternoon, Frankel drew just as much praise after his 10-length demolition job in the Royal Lodge Stakes.

Henry Cecil said: "He's exciting and has huge potential and I think he's slightly out of the ordinary. I doubt I've had a better two-year-old since Wollow and that was almost 40 years ago."

Lady Of The Desert, runner-up in the Betfred Sprint Cup, went one better in yesterday's John Guest Diadem Stakes, while Laaheb just held Whispering Gallery in the Grosvenor Casinos Cumberland Lodge Stakes.

Ridden with trademark confidence and panache by Richard Hughes, the Brian Meehan-trained filly endorsed all of the promise of her second to Markab in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock by coming home unchallenged. With the race teed up for her by the breakneck pace set by 9/4 favourite Dalghar, she swamped that rival inside the final furlong to race two lengths clear.

There was an Irish success in the SIS Live Fenwolf Stakes when Fictional Account helped Co Meath trainer Vince Ward realise a lifelong dream by staging a 16/1 upset.

Ward, who trains seven horses as a hobby to run alongside his main role as a sheep farmer, had always dreamed of saddling a winner at Ascot. And that came to fruition as William Buick pushed out Fictional Account to score by a length and a half from Free Agent.

Ward enthused: "I've spent 25 years dreaming about this day. We were going for the Irish Cesarewitch but changed our minds because the ground was too soft and she'd have had top weight."

Irish Independent

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