Frankie Dettori knows how to stay at the top and other things we learnt at Royal Ascot

Marcus Armytage
The Telegraph
Frankie Dettori wins the leading jockey award during day five of Royal Ascot - PA
Frankie Dettori wins the leading jockey award during day five of Royal Ascot - PA

No reason why Frankie cannot go on for another five or six years

The only surprise about Dettori being top jockey with his seven winners last week was the fact that it was his first such title since 2004. A few years back he said he could go on until he was 50. However he has the job so sussed now that he only needs to ride three or four days a week and only take rides on good horses.

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As long as he keeps fit enough his freshness when it comes to a meeting like Ascot is always going to be an advantage. Last week there were a couple of occasions when he rode other world-class jockeys to sleep.

Danny Tudhope could well be champion jockey sooner rather than later

The rise and rise of the Scottish-born jockey has been coming for a while. He has ridden winners at the last three Royal Ascots and, though being retained to ride the Clipper Logistics horses may not be the biggest job in the country, Steve Parkin has horses in a lot of yards which has alerted a lot of trainers, including William Haggas and Sir Michael Stoute, to his ability.

He rode four winners at Ascot last week from just 10 rides. Another stride in the Diamond Jubilee and it would have been five. He is six winners behind Oisin Murphy in the jockeys’ title. He is a potent threat because he is the go-to jockey for Newmarket horses in the north.

<span>Danny Tudhope rides Space Traveller to victory in the Jersey Stakes</span> <span>Credit: Adam Davey/PA </span>
Danny Tudhope rides Space Traveller to victory in the Jersey Stakes Credit: Adam Davey/PA

Derby form is already beginning to look very smart

Most years it is at least the Irish Derby, at the end of the month, before the Derby form gets any respectability and, even then, it is sometimes not in favour of the winner. Obviously, with five of the first six, it is in Aidan O’Brien’s best interests to try to boost the form where possible but the victories of Circus Maximus (sixth at Epsom) in the St James’s Palace Stakes and Japan in the King Edward VII Stakes where he beat another Derby also ran, Bangkok, is adding almost instant lustre to the world’s greatest flat race.

Television viewing figures up, attendances down

ITV viewing figures were strong, the average audience (859,000, up by 19 per cent on 2018 when it was up against the Fifa men's World Cup) and there were a number of seven-year highs. Highlighting the Frankie Factor for British racing the audience grew through Thursday afternoon to 1.4m as he began to look like he could go through the card. That was the highest viewing figure for Royal Ascot since 2012.

Crowds were down almost 10,000 over the four days. Ascot do not seem unduly worried citing more takers for boxes and fine dining, in other words where the money is. It is not a problem unless another 10,000 desert next year.

If you charge like a wounded rhino you need to do something about underfoot conditions 

I had a lovely lunch in the Rose Terrace in the Royal Enclosure where my ‘British tapas grazing options’ were considerably better than the single option (grass) on offer to Show Me Show Me who got loose before the Windsor Castle Stakes.

Summer outdoor events rely, to a certain extent, on the weather and at its worst on Wednesday the Royal Enclosure was like a wet Glastonbury and many a Jimmy Choo met its Waterloo there. If you charge £120 for the enclosure and enforce a strict dress code – unlike Glasto where you can wear boots – you probably need to do a bit better than wood chippings (hard to walk on in anything but horseshoes). I’m absolutely not saying concrete it over, just that there must be something better.    

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