Frankie Dettori’s farewell tour is well underway and it certainly hasn’t disappointed thus far, with the legendary Italian picking up some monumental victories in the opening month or so of the season — including landing his fourth 2000 Guineas atop Chaldean and seventh Oaks with Soul Sister, both for John and Thady Gosden.
In fact, the 52-year-old’s form has caused a debate amongst racing fans and pundits surrounding whether he should actually call it a day at the end of the 2023 campaign or keep going for another year or two. That’s nothing more than speculation at this stage though and there has been nothing official to suggest Dettori is going to change his mind.
That means he has likely mounted his last ride in both the Guineas, the Oaks, and the Derby, and Royal Ascot is the next big event set to be ticked off the list. Dettori has a record 77 winners at the Royal meeting and will be hoping to extend that mammoth list when he heads to Berkshire for the five-day event later this month.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the horses who have a real chance of helping him land a few more winners at Ascot.
Once fancied as a Classic-winning horse, Inspiral was the long-time favorite in the ante-post markets for both the 1000 Guineas and the Oaks prior to last season before ultimately missing both through injury.
She finally returned at Ascot last June, marking her seasonal reappearance with a win in the Coronation Stakes. Inspiral was then beaten next time out at Newmarket despite going off as the 1/7 favorite but bounced back to win the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville in France in August.
The Cheveley Park Stud horse was disappointing again in October, however, finishing sixth of nine runners in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot. She currently has two options at the Royal meeting, coming in as the 3/1 second favorite for Queen Anne and the 3/1 favorite for the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes if you’re looking for a bet on Royal Ascot.
The shortest-priced horse Dettori will likely ride at Ascot, and therefore theoretically his best chance of a win, is Chaldean. The horse is trained by Andrew Balding, but Dettori’s fantastic relationship with Juddmonte sees him get the call-up over the likes of Oisin Murphy, and the pair have already enjoyed immense success at the top level.
Dettori rode him to Group 2 glory in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last September and followed up with a win in the prestigious Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October. Chaldean’s seasonal reappearance didn’t go to plan though, with Dettori falling off as they broke from the stalls.
That appeared to be far from ideal prep for the Guineas, but the Italian kept the ride for the first Classic of the season and landed the spoils as Chaldean kept on to beat Murphy’s 150/1 mount Hi Royal by almost two lengths on the Rowley Mile.
Chaldean is 6/4 for the St James’s Palace Stakes on day one of Royal Ascot.
A horse Dettori only rode for the first time when finishing a disappointing 10th in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last month, Laurel is another product of Juddmonte Farm who holds an entry in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes as the third favorite at 9/2.
The lightly-raced four-year-old won a Fillies’ Novice Stakes on debut at Newmarket last July and followed up with another success at Kempton before finishing a respectable second from 9/1 in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes back at HQ.
She reappeared on the all-weather again at Kempton for a Listed Fillies’ Stakes back in April and won convincingly under Ryan Moore before that sub-par run at Newbury last month when she hung left and weakened in the final furlong. She is entered by the Duke Of Cambridge alongside Inspiral, so would need her to go down the Queen Anne route for Dettori to ride.
| Photo courtesy of Royal Ascot