'I want to cry': Frankie Dettori banned after agonising defeat in Melbourne Cup
High-profile owner Nick Williams described himself as “shattered” for Frankie Dettori after the jockey was suspended for nine meetings and his mount Master Of Reality demoted to fourth from second in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, won by the Craig Williams-ridden Vow And Declare.
Dettori, who was booked for the ride on Joseph O'Brien's Master Of Reality after his excellent third behind Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup, was found guilty of careless riding after stewards had objected to interference between the initial runner-up and fourth, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Il Paradiso.
That objection led to a stewards’ inquiry concerning Master Of Reality and Il Paradiso, with the latter's rider Wayne Lordan not critical of Dettori's riding. Yet stewards felt the interference was sufficient enough to alter the placings, promoting Prince Of Arran to second from third and Il Paradiso to third from fourth.
A subsequent inquiry led to Dettori, set for a month's riding stint in Japan, pleading guilty to careless riding and suspended until November 14.
Dettori was an exasperated figure after being narrowly denied in Australia’s most high-profile race. He was hugged by Joseph O’Brien and Nick Williams in the winner’s enclosure in the immediate aftermath and said “I want to cry” before heading back to the weighing room.
Williams said: “I’m shattered for Frankie as he’s so determined to win this race. He gave our horse every chance and nothing would have been better than to win the Melbourne Cup with Frankie, who is the world’s best for a reason.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t and that’s racing.
“Master Of Reality is a proper two-mile horse and has done a great job for us. Without winning a big race he has certainly given us some thrills.”
Dettori has finished second twice previously in the Flemington feature, aboard Central Park in 1999 and Max Dynamite in 2015, and Joseph O’Brien sympathised with the star jockey, who was suspended for a month and fined A$20,000 (£10,720/€12,420) for his ride on the Willie Mullins-trained runner-up four years ago.
He said: “I’m more gutted for Frankie than I am for myself.
“I’ll be back next year but I don’t know if Frankie is ever going to win this race.”
Dettori described the interference between Master Of Reality and Il Paradiso as “very minimal” to stewards.
He said: “Master Of Reality was looking for company and went left but I had both hands on my reins and corrected him. Perhaps I could have corrected him a stride earlier, but it was very minimal interference.”
Lordan, successful aboard Iridessa for Joseph O'Brien at the Breeders’ Cup on Friday, shared a similar view to Dettori.
He told stewards: “I came from a long way back and Frankie’s horse was getting tired. I didn’t have to stop riding and it was very close to the line so I’m not sure how much difference it made.”
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