Thistle Bird (right) on her way to winning at EpsomPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Dettori last as Thistle Bird flies home
Report: Epsom, Friday
Princess Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Investec) (Group 3) 1m½f, 3yo+ fillies
FRANKIE DETTORI was unable to make a fairytale return to race-riding when he finished last behind Thistle Bird in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom on the first day of the Investec Derby meeting.
Dettori, who was in action for the first time after serving a six-month suspension for failing a drugs test, partnered Beatrice Aurore for Ed Dunlop, but the pair made little impression against the impressive Thistle Bird.
Trained by Roger Charlton and ridden by James Doyle, she rewarded those her sent her off the 3-1 favourite with a three-quarter length win over Gifted Girl. Ladys First was third.
All eyes on were on the returning Dettori and he sat fourth on Beatrice Aurore as Richard Hughes set a decent gallop on Making Eyes.
At one point it looked like Hughes had stolen the race, but - as Dettori and his mount's challenge ended - Doyle got after Thistle Bird and she quickened clear under.
"She deserved this," said Doyle, who won the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup on stablemate Al Kazeem last week.
"She was very consistent last year and I am pleased with the way she did it. She stays quite well and I always thought Richard Hughes would come back to me. I did not want to take it up too early and it turned out to be quite straightforward."
The winner, a Lady Rothschild homebred, could head to Royal Ascot next for the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes.
Charlton said: "She got the trip really well. At some stage we might explore going further again. She was more relaxed today have been a bit keen previously. She will probably go to Royal Ascot to run in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes."