The Royal Ascot rides that led to the Dettori-Gosden relationship crumbling

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Kyprios ridden by Ryan Moore beats Mojo Star (6) ridden by Rossa Ryan and Stradivarius (3) ridden by Frankie Dettori on the way to winning The Gold Cup during day three of Royal Ascot 2022 at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2022 in
Stradivarius (far right) could finish only third when bidding for a record-equalling fourth Gold CupCredit: Alex Livesey (Getty Images)

How ironic that it was at Ascot, the scene of so many of his greatest triumphs, that Frankie Dettori should fall out of John Gosden's good books.

His 'magnificent seven' may have been more than a quarter of a century ago but it was only in 2019 he had bookmakers panicking as he rode the first four winners on the third day of the royal meeting and threatened to clean them out by going through the card again.

The four-timer was completed in the Gold Cup on Stradivarius, the top-class stayer whose never-nearer third when attempting to recapture the crown last week was the most high-profile of the rides that caused trainer and jockey to fall out.

Dettori could argue that being drawn inside in a race run at a muddling pace condemned him to hoping for luck, which he had none of in the straight, forcing him to switch and challenge widest of all.

But Gosden openly questioned the ride, saying: "I was a bit surprised after being in the box seat that we dropped back so far. The problem is, when they sprint you've got to get a run and he had to come widest of all" – and losing one final chance at a record-equalling fourth Gold Cup win with an eight-year-old who is soon to be retired clearly rankled.

Frankie DettoriRoyal Ascot 17.6.22 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Frankie Dettori: endured a turbulent Royal Ascot weekCredit: Edward Whitaker

Things got worse before they got better as he might have won the very next race, the Britannia Handicap, if stablemate Saga had not needed to come from quite so far back: the three-year-old finished fast and failed by just a head to give the Queen a hugely significant Ascot winner.

Dettori was absolved of blame on Reach For The Moon, another royal runner who was the last leg of a hat-trick of near-misses, as he simply bumped into a better horse in the Hampton Court Stakes.

But that was not the case earlier in the week when he was slow to get the blindfold off Lord North, who lost many lengths at the start of the Prince Of Wales's Stakes and finished last of five.

And a harsh critic might even claim that Dettori hit the front too soon on Stowell in the Copper Horse Handicap on the first afternoon, though it may well be that lack of stamina was to blame and the colt drops back in trip on Saturday – when, even more significantly, the jockey has been replaced by Robert Havlin.

Read these next:

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David CarrReporter
Published on 24 June 2022Last updated 20:31, 24 June 2022