Will Frankie finish with a flourish on Champions Day?

By Sports Desk October 20, 2023

Ascot racecourse helped develop Frankie Dettori into the world-famous jockey he became thanks to his ‘Magnificent Seven’ in 1996, on an afternoon which evolved into Qipco Champions Day. So it is fitting he will bid farewell – at least it seems he will – to British racing at that meeting this weekend.

That incredible day saw Dettori win all seven races, at cumulative odds of 25,095-1 – a feat which saw some bookmakers go bankrupt.

What is Champions Day?

British Champions Day is the richest day of racing in the UK with £4 million in prize-money up for grabs. With the ultra-competitive Balmoral Handicap, the Group Two Long Distance Cup and four Group Ones, the afternoon showcases the best of British racing – and this year offers racegoers the chance to say goodbye to Dettori. Champions Day is an upgrade on the British Festival of Racing, which in 1996 became headline news thanks to one man.

So, can he do it again?

His day begins on last year’s Ebor winner Trawlerman in the Long Distance Cup in which Trueshan and Kyprios will prove tough nuts to crack. Kinross won the British Champions Sprint 12 months ago and has been a very reliable ally for Dettori in recent seasons. Free Wind faced a tough test in the Arc but will be more at home in the Fillies & Mares Stakes, while Chaldean has a live chance in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Picking up the ride on King Of Steel in the Champion Stakes is a real boon and suddenly Dettori has an enviable book of rides.

What are the chances of a flying dismount?

Frankie took his trademark flying dismount idea from Angel Cordero Jr, a leading rider in America when the Italian rode as a youngster in the States. He brought it over to Europe and the racegoers loved it, with it adding to Dettori’s growing profile every time he rode a big-race winner. According to the bookmakers, this year his best chance of a winner is Ralph Beckett’s Kinross in the Sprint.

What are the bookmakers saying?

Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “It’s most likely the last time we will say this, but the man we fear most heading into the weekend is of course Frankie Dettori. With a potential five-timer on the cards, Dettori is giving us a few more sleepless nights before he starts a new chapter in the US.”

Lee Phelps, a spokesperson for William Hill, said: “While Frankie Dettori is now set to ride on in the US next year, Champions Day is still a chance for British crowds to wave farewell to the flamboyant rider and he’s sure to want to sign off riding in the UK with a big win.

“We make Dettori 5-4 to ride one winner and take his total to 10 Champions Day wins, while he’s 3-1 to boot home two or more winners on Saturday.”

What are Ascot doing to mark the occasion?

Dettori was at London’s South Bank last week promoting the afternoon. However, the morning took an unexpected turn when he announced he was no longer retiring but heading to ride in California for the winter. Nevertheless, he is still insisting Ascot is his European farewell.

Related items

  • Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments

    Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), operators of Caymanas Park, have called for a review of Rule 44 (iii) enforced by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) following the cancellation of two races during the April 27 race meet at Caymanas Park.

    In a press conference on Monday addressing the abandoned races, SVREL Executive Chairman Solomon Sharpe expressed frustration with the rule, highlighting its potential impact on the racing industry.

    "This rule, unique to Jamaica, imposes a strict five-minute limit after the published post time for races at Caymanas Park," Sharpe stated. "It fails to account for various factors that can delay race starts and penalizes all stakeholders when races are abandoned, affecting punters, jockeys, grooms, trainers, owners, promoters, and the government."

    Last year, Caymanas Park contributed over $260 million in combined taxes to the government's coffers. Sharpe urged the JRC to engage SVREL in discussions on Rule 44, emphasizing the need for constructive dialogue to address the rule's impact.

    "We were not consulted during the initial discussions on this rule, and now, with two races abandoned in a single race day, our concerns have materialized," Sharpe explained. "SVREL is open to collaborating with the JRC to review and refine this amended rule."

    Representatives from the Grooms Association, Jockeys Association, and the United Racehorse Trainers Association echoed SVREL's concerns and supported the call for a review of Rule 44.

    Sharpe concluded by appealing to regulators, stakeholders, and the public to support the growth of the horseracing industry in Jamaica. "Horseracing has immense potential in Jamaica and can become a significant foreign exchange earner. Realizing this potential requires collaboration among all stakeholders."

    SVREL has been operating Caymanas Park since March 2017 after the government divested the property. With investments exceeding J$4 billion in product enhancements and innovations like the Mouttet Mile, which boasts the largest purse in the English-speaking Caribbean, SVREL remains committed to advancing the horseracing experience in Jamaica.

  • Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday

    Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited (SVREL) has expressed regret and disappointment following the abandonment of two races during the Saturday, April 27 race day at Caymanas Park in St Catherine, Jamaica.

    The decision to abandon these races, SVREL said, was made in compliance with regulations set forth by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), leading to the refund of all related pools according to SVREL's Pari-mutuel rules.

    According to the statement released by SVREL late Saturday, the abandonment of races number one and six, respectively, was declared by the stewards of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) due to delays that exceeded the permitted time frame as stipulated by Rule 44(iii).

    Specifically, in race number one, scheduled to commence at 12:00 pm, a saddling issue with horse number five and a mandatory veterinary check for horse number eight, which reared and fell after exiting the saddling barn, resulted in delays beyond the allowable limit.

    Similarly, race number six, slated for 3:10 pm, was delayed due to a horse running loose, ultimately leading to its abandonment by the stewards of the JRC.

    SVREL explained that the recent amendments to Rule 44(iii), which came into effect from April 1, 2024, mandate strict adherence to race start times with a maximum allowance of five minutes after the published post time. SVREL noted that Jamaica is unique in enforcing such a rule without prior consultation with the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica.

    The enforcement of this rule has led to financial losses for industry stakeholders, including owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, punters, and the promoter and as such the disruption caused by the abandonment of these races understandably resulted in unrest among stakeholder groups.

    Despite the challenges faced, the race meet resumed with race number seven at approximately 4:00 pm, SVREL noted.

    SVREL has now issued a sincere apology to valued customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience caused by the abandonment of races one and six by the JRC. SVREL also emphasized its readiness for open dialogue with the JRC and all impacted stakeholders to ensure the continued success and integrity of the horseracing industry.

    As the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica, SVREL said it remains committed to addressing challenges collaboratively and upholding the highest standards of professionalism and service within the industry.


  • Light seeking to shine again at Sandown Light seeking to shine again at Sandown

    Kitty’s Light is taking aim at his usual season finisher in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

    The gelding has been a star for trainer Christian Williams, winning big handicap events like the Eider Chase and the Scottish Grand National and going close in the Charlie Hall and the Coral Trophy.

    He has particularly good record in the bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of the season, missing out only due to interference when second in 2021 and coming home third in 2022.

    Last year he was completed the set of podium finishes when winning by two and a half lengths under usual jockey Jack Tudor.

    The two are well acquainted and teamed up for Kitty’s Light’s Grand National bid at Aintree earlier in the month, where he ran a valiant race to finish fifth behind four Grade-One winning Irish chasers.

    Williams was incredibly proud of his stable star and is now hoping the gelding can shine again in the Sandown contest he has found to be lucrative in the past.

    “It was wonderful, we trained him to win the race and we thought he could, but you couldn’t be disappointed with what he did,” Williams said of the National performance.

    “We were thrilled, the horse tried his best and we were very, very proud of horse and jockey.

    “He’s come out of it very well, if the race was run today even then he’d be running, he’s in good form.

    “He loves it at Sandown with the big fences, his jumping has come on now but even as a five-year-old he nearly won the race.

    “He was third the year after that, it really seems to suit him.

    “I think he likes going right-handed, he hangs a little bit right at home and he seems to really enjoy it there.

    “We’re taking our chance anyway, he seems well and we’ll hope for the best.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.