Frankie Dettori Celebrates ‘Unbelievable’ Treble On Opening Day Of Royal Ascot
Frankie Dettori made a perfect Royal Ascot return, winning three races from three rides on the opening day of the five-day meeting in Berkshire.
The Italian, who missed last year through injury, triumphed aboard Calyx and Monarchs Glen in the famous green and pink colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah, and also landed the feature race of the day, St James’ Palace Stakes, aboard Without Parole.
He boosted his tally of Royal winners to 59, with rides aboard hot favourites Cracksman and Chelsea Cloisters to come tomorrow. All three of his wins handed himself and trainer John Gosden a 74-1 treble.
“I took a chance by going on the inside rail and it worked out – I didn’t expect Monarchs Glen to win,” said the Italian jockey.
“It opened up really nicely on the rail and I got a clear run through. When I got to the front I was half shaking thinking I can’t believe this has happened to me. It’s a fantastic day.
“Three rides, three winners at Ascot is special. I missed the meeting last year and I’m making up for it here.
“To have three winners in a week at Ascot is amazing, but to have three in one day at Royal Ascot is unbelievable.
“I love Ascot. It’s has been so lucky for me and it’s been a great team effort – John Gosden is on fire. When an outsider even wins, you know you have had a good day.
“I have some great rides to come and I’m looking forward to riding Cracksman tomorrow.”
Without Parole’s impressive yet tough win in the St James’ Palace extends the unbeaten son of Frankel tally to four.
With a strong pace set by Ryan Moore aboard reigning Middle Park and Dewhurst champion US Navy Flag, a well-timed charge from Dettori allowed him to hit the front and go on to deny fast finishing Gustav Klimt in second.
He has been made favourite for the Sussex Stakes over a mile at Glorious Goodwood next month, but regardless of where he runs Gosden believes he has an extremely bright future.
“Without Parole is a grand horse, there were no hiding places in that race,” said winning trainer Gosden.
“It was a proper, proper Group One pace. I think he is still on the up and learning. I think he could stay at a mile or go up. I think he will improve, he’ll get sharper and I think he will get a little further too.”
Well fancied 2000 Guineas second Tip Two Win finished unplaced, whilst Romanised, who won the Irish edition, also failed to make the placings.
Canadian breeder John Gunther is fresh from success, with his horse Justify landing the American triple crown last weekend: although the owner and breeder of Without Parole claims that today’s result was the ‘best in his life’:
"This is the best moment of my life,” said Gunther.
“I've always wanted a winner at Royal Ascot. This is better than Justify, by far. My knees were shaking before the race and after! Mr (John) Gosden did a great job, Frankie's the best!"
Perhaps the best of the six winners on the opening day was Gosden’s exciting juvenile Calyx, who stepped up from a superb debut win to land to Coventry Stakes.
He has subsequently been made as short as 4-1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas.
Elsewhere Oxfordshire trainer Eve Johnson Houghton and jockey Charles Bishop landed their first Group One and Royal Ascot success as 33-1 outsider Accidental Agent took the Queen Anne Stakes.
The four-year-old was rather unfancied having been fairly beaten in the Lockinge behind Rhododendron at Newbury, but battled on bravely to deny Lord Glitters by half-a-length under jockey Charles Bishop.
In the third Group One on the day, Godolphin’s Blue Point rallied late to deny Europe’s highest-rated sprinter Battash in a thrilling finale to the King’s Stand Stakes.
With favourite Lady Aurelia running poorly, Charlie Hills’ four-year-old was forced to make the running and Blue Point was able to tuck in behind before battling on to win late on.
It provides William Buick and Charlie Appleby a second Group One on home soil, just over two weeks on from the pair’s historic Derby success with Masar just over a fortnight ago.
Despite the jumps season concluded in April, Willie Mullins continued to dominate on British soil as Lagostovegas struck in the Ascot Stakes.