Joshua Tree reclaims International crown having won the race in 2010PICTURE: Woodbine/Michael Burns Photography
Dettori in peerless form as Joshua Tree triumphs
Report: Canada, Sunday
Woodbine: Pattison Canadian International (Grade 1) 1m4f, turf, 3yo+
WITH Frankie Dettori at his world-class best, the Marco Botti-trained Joshua Tree held on from the fast-finishing Dandino for a British one-two in the Canadian International.
Sent off a 4-1 chance, the five-year-old was reclaiming the $1.5 million event after winning two years ago for former trainer Aidan O'Brien and finishing second to Sarah Lynx in 2011.
Runner-up Dandino, a 25-1 chance, charged past former Luca Cumani-trained Forte Dei Marmi close home to snatch second, with British compatriot Wigmore Hall taking fourth place after rushing home from the rear.
Highly fancied Imperial Monarch faded in the stretch to finish sixth, two places ahead of last year's Prix du Jockey Club winner Reliable Man. Lay Time was tenth and last.
Dettori, who had won the race twice before on Mutafaweq (2000) and Sulamani (2004), rode his rivals to sleep on Sunday. After sending Joshua Tree straight to the front on rain-softened ground, he set modest fractions (25.2s, 51.2s, 1.17.0s) despite the close attentions of US-trained Air Support.
The son of Montjeu sprinted out of the far turn, immediately gaining a small break on his rivals - plus the all-important momentum that was to prove enough to get him home driven out by a half-length as the James Fanshawe-trained Dandino stormed home down the outside.
Joshua Tree had finished third to Arc runner-up Orfevre on his previous outing in the Prix Foy. "That was always the plan, to get to the front and dictate our own tempo," said Dettori, who wowed the Woodbine crowd with a flying dismount.
"It's the best turf track in North America, so for us Europeans it makes life a lot easier, but also you need the horse that answers every call and he did for me," he added. "I was able to set my own fractions, but when I asked him to pick up, he did. When I kicked for home at the quarter pole, I knew I had plenty of horse left and he fought right to the line.
"I rode him last time and this was third in a good race in France and this was always the target. He's won it before and was second last year. He is a super horse and loves this track. Who knows? He might even be back next year."
Dettori spoke of his affection for Canada's premier venue. "Woodbine has been phenomenal for me," he said. "I have some great friends here, been coming for so many years. I just love the place, love the people."
Marco Botti's wife Lucie was delighted. "He is a great horse to us, very consistent and just a superstar for us," she said.
Dandino's jockey Jim Crowley paid tribute to his mount, saying: "He ran a simply phenomenal race. Down the lane, he was always battling back and he wouldn't quit. I had a great trip. Another stride or two and I think we could have won it."