Frustration for Dettori after two Royal Ascot appointments to forget

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It was a day to forget at Royal Ascot for Frankie Dettori in the iconic purple silks of racing's most famous owner, The Queen.
It was a day to forget at Royal Ascot for Frankie Dettori in the iconic purple silks of racing's most famous owner, The Queen.

By James Toney

Racing's most famous jockey and the sport's most famous fan had an afternoon to forget at Royal Ascot.

For the third day The Queen was watching her favourite event down the road in Windsor - and could be forgiven for throwing the remote at the television as she was twice narrowly denied her 25th winner at the royal meeting.

When you think of this place you think of Her Majesty but, for many, Frankie Dettori is probably next.

Dettori has enjoyed some memorable days at his favourite race track, from 76 Royal Ascot winners to ripping through the card to claim his unprecedented 'Magnificent Seven' in 1996.

He's immortalised in bronze at the entrance to the Royal Enclosure, executing one of those trademark flying dismounts that make him racing's greatest showman.

But this was not one of those days - first he saw old friend Stradivarius fail to win a record-equalling fourth Gold Cup, age and rising star Kyprios catching up him him.

And then, riding in the Queen's famous and iconic purple silks, he suffered double disappointment - as the crowd willed him on to deliver a perfect story in Platinum Jubilee year.

First, riding Saga, he was edged out in a photo finish in the Britannia Stakes, then he failed to make good on odds-on favourite status in the Hampton Court Stakes - the Queen's best hope for the week, Reach for the Moon, overhauled in the closing furlong by rival Claymore.

"It's just one of those things, racing is cruel," said Dettori, still waiting for his first winner of the week.

"In the Britannia Stakes he ran a great race, his splits were perfect but I needed just one more stride.

"In the Hampton Court I got my head in front two furlongs out but he just couldn't finish the race off.

"It could be numerous different things – the ground, the trip, I don’t know but he didn’t run his race.”

The Queen will get another chance to bring up her quarter century on Friday with Just Fine, a frontrunner in the race that takes the name of her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

Dettori won't be on board though, the ride goes to Ryan Moore, the leading jockey at the meeting this year with three wins, four seconds and two thirds.

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