Monday 15 July 2019

Dettori takes honours to deny O'Brien

Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

A monsoon hit Royal Ascot but it didn't stop Frankie Dettori shining at his favourite venue.

As the Italian clicked into overdrive aboard Crystal Ocean in the featured Prince of Wales's Stakes, Aidan O'Brien was the man to lose out as his 13/8 favourite Magical came off second best.

In the softened ground and with Crystal Ocean a proven stayer, Dettori kicked early, stole a couple of lengths on the Ballydoyle filly and while she hounded him hard, Ryan Moore's mount lost out by just over a length.

Waldgeist finished in third while Sea of Class, having her first start of the season, ran on well to take fifth in conditions which would not have favoured her.

"Crystal Ocean is a high-class horse and I am delighted to have won a Group One with him," said winning trainer Michael Stoute.

"He's just a very admirable racehorse. I thought he ran well in the Champion Stakes last year and better than it appeared."

Like Stoute, Mark Johnston rarely leaves this meeting without a winner or three, and Dettori was equally brilliant on his Raffle Prize in the Queen Mary, stalking Wesley Ward's front-running Kimari before the 18/1 shot edged the America filly by a head to give the trainer a 44th Royal Ascot win.

A Dettori treble looked on the cards when Rawdaa went to the front in the final furlong of the Duke of Cambridge Stakes but overcoming O'Brien's tenacious I Can Fly left her with little in the tank when Move Swiftly, ridden by the week's unexpected star Danny Tudhope, arrived to win by a neck.

O'Brien and Moore had high hopes of landing the Queen's Vase with Norway, but the 11/4 favourite's hopes were sunk in the rain and it was left to stablemate Barbados to carry the Ballydoyle flag under Wayne Lordan. The 20/1 outsider was driven into the lead with two furlongs to run, but as hard as he tried, Lordan's mount couldn't withstand the challenge of Andrew Balding's Dashing Willoughby (6/1), which prevailed by a half-length under Oisín Murphy.

The O'Brien-Moore axis had to wait until the finale to visit the winner's enclosure as Southern Hills broke his maiden tag in style when giving his sire Gleneagles a first Royal Ascot winner in flying home late to claim the Windsor Castle Stakes.

After finishing fifth on his debut at the Curragh, the Ballydoyle juvenile went one place better than last time at Navan to open his account in the five-furlong dash, which was delayed after Show Me Show Me broke free from the stalls before being withdrawn.

Making good late headway close to the stands rail, the 7/1 shot forged on when it mattered most to get the better of Platinum Star by half a length.

Irish Independent

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