Magic man Frankie Dettori was on fire again at Royal Ascot with three winners enabling him to finish the meeting as the leading rider at the track where he has ruled for the last 30 years. He might have had to wear the compulsory face mask but there was no hiding his grin, wide as the Ascot grandstand, after out-riding his colleagues when taking the St James Palace with the John Gosden-trained Palace Pier.
Earlier on the card Dettori made it a full house of Ascot Group 1 victories after capturing the elusive Coronation Stakes with Alpine Star.
Saluting to the empty grandstands and whooping with delight, Dettori remarked: “I have finally conquered Royal Ascot.”
Dettori, of course, conquered Ascot back in 1996 when riding all seven winners, added: “Today was a big tick of my boxes, in my career. It’s a long five days, but it goes like a flash. I hope the people at home have been enjoying it.”
Alpine Star was following in the hoof prints of her half-sister Alpha Centauri, the winner of the race two years ago and like that filly is trained by Jessica Harrington.
Dettori had earlier shown why he is such an exceptional rider when playing his cards late after putting Campanelle’s head in front on the winning line to take the Queen Mary Stakes.
The Italian clearly enjoyed moment as the filly is trained in the States by his mate Wesley Ward who remarked:
“The Frankie Dettori that we all love, that’s the reason why he is the greatest, and I can’t thank him enough.”
It was very much pay back from Dettori who earlier in the week had rejected the ride on a Ward runner.
“I had him on the phone screaming at me for half an hour yesterday, so I am glad I managed to win this race for him,” said Dettori.
“He’s a friend of mine, but he doesn’t forgive things!
“I have just had him on the phone, and he is delighted this time.”
So were Dettori’s legion of fans.