Frankie Dettori overcame a slow start from a tricky draw to land the Chester Cup for only the second time in his career here on Friday, bringing the top-weight Falcon Eight, ㅏ 15-2 chance, with a powerful run to lead well inside the final furlong and beat The Grand Visir by two lengths.
Dettori was just a few months past his 20th birthday when he took the Roodee’s famous staying handicap in 1991 and he needed to draw on his decades of experience to get Falcon Eight home after he was slow to stride from stall 10.
Dettori had just four of his 15 opponents behind him as they passed the winning post with two circuits to travel and was still in the same position after another lap of the Roodee. He made steady progress towards the leaders from three out, 하나, and Falcon Eight’s Group-class finishing speed proved overwhelming when Dettori kicked at the top of the straight.
“We all have plan but when you get that many runners on such a tight track, you have to adapt and readjust your tactics and let the race unfold,” Dettori said, “and that was the case for me today.”
“I took a pull and saved ground all the way to the back, then I got to three-and-a-half and went two or three wide and sling-shotted around the turn, and in fairness, he picked up.
“He’s a Group horse really, Dermot [Weld, his trainer] always had this race in mind and he booked me for this three weeks ago. He can be lazy at times but today he showed a good turn of foot.”
일찍이, Armory proved a class above his rivals as he made a successful start to his campaign in the Melodi Media Huxley Stakes, with a step back up to the highest level next on the agenda.
The Galileo colt brought some top-class form to the table from last season, having finished fourth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Tattersalls Gold Cup, third in the Irish Champion Stakes and second to former stablemate Sir Dragonet in the Cox Plate in Australia.
He was the 6-5 favourite to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with a third victory in this Group Two contest – and after settling at the rear of the four-strong field for much of the race, quickly found top gear under Ryan Moore in the straight to leave his rivals toiling. Sangarius filled the runner-up spot, beaten three lengths by the impressive winner.
O’Brien said: “We were delighted. He’s really matured. I suppose what he has is an unbelievable turn of foot, which is a great thing in a horse because you don’t mind if they go fast or they go slow, as he quickens very well.
“He’s done very well over the winter, he had a lovely run in Australia last year but things didn’t really work out for him so we’re delighted.
“We were thinking after this he might go for the Tattersalls Gold Cup or the Prince of Wales’s, but probably the Prince of Wales’s [at Royal Ascot]. He has plenty of pace, but we always thought he’d get 10 furlongs – when you have a horse who quickens like that it’s a bonus, and Ryan gave him a lovely ride.”
Moore said: “I was very happy with him. He was a high-class two-year-old. He has form on soft ground, but when it’s quicker he can show his turn of foot. It was a steady race today, a messy race but he’s got a really good change of gear.
“He’s very talented. I don’t know what the plan but he’s won a Group Two there and he’s already been second in a Cox Plate, (그래서) he’s entitled to take his place at a higher level.”