Frankie Dettori completes Italian 2000 Guineas dream
Frankie Dettori ticked another big race off his bucket list during his final season in the saddle when he returned to his homeland to win the Italian 2000 Guineas for the first time on Vero Atleta. Although the 52-year-old struck gold in the fillies equivalent - the Premio Regina Elena - aboard Nicole Pharly in 1997, and despite finishing second four times, the Premio Parioli had eluded the decorated jockey.
However, he was handed the perfect opportunity to end his duck aboard Grizzetti Galoppo's 4/6 favourite Vero Atleta, who headed into the race having been crowned Italy's champion two-year-old last season.
The duo obliged in real style with Dettori urging his mount to hit top gear entering the home straight before guiding the son of Gleneagles to a clear-cut four-and-a-half-length victory. In winning the Campannelle Group Three, the Italian replicates his father Gianfranco who scooped the Classic twice, in 1989 and 1991. "Finally after 35 years, and being second four times, I have finally done it," said Dettori. "I had one last go and I've got the full house now and I can retire happy. "I had the pick of the race and everyone wanted me to ride their horses. I picked the best three-year-old and he won in style, he was great. "He was the champion two-year-old and we had a lot of rain and a mile was a bit on the short side. He will be a good candidate for the Italian Derby. He won in very good style and it was a great day. "It was a bit emotional and everyone made a big fuss of me and it is nice to be able to retire and say I have won the 2000, 1000, Derby and the Oaks. It was great to be able to come back to my homeland despite the weather being bad." Dettori was also aboard the favourite Aquila Reale in the Premio Regina Elena but having attempted to make all, faded into third behind Shavasana, ridden by Cristian Demuro and trained by Stefano Botti.
But having soaked in the adulation of his countrymen, the Italian's sights now turn towards Newmarket and the first British Classics of the season where he will partner leading Qipco 2000 Guineas hope Chaldean on Saturday. "I went to Chaldean at the weekend at Andrew Balding's and everything was fine," added Dettori. "I'm possibly going to ride Lezoo in the 1000 Guineas, she won the Cheveley Park and the season starts now really. "It's a shame we've had a lot of rain at the moment but we've got lots to look forward to."
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