CRACKSMAN, left, wins Coronation Cup
London – Royal Ascot without Frankie Dettori just isn’t the same. Last year the rider was ruled out of the meeting with an arm injury and this time around the king of Flat racing is “keeping himself in bubble wrap” to ensure he will again be at home in his castle.
The jockey said: “Ascot means everything, so not being able to take part last year was hard to take. It’s our Olympics.
“The Derby is one race after all. At Ascot it’s 30 races, it covers the whole spectrum and it’s very hard to win.”
On how he was preparing for the meeting, he said: “I’ve got three rides before Ascot; two on Saturday and one on Sunday.”
Dettori is due to partner three-time Group 1 winner Cracksman in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday.
One of the most exciting horses in training, Cracksman only scraped home in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on his last start, and Dettori joked: “I’m getting sick and tired of answering the same questions on Cracksman – he’s fine! I rode him yesterday and he just doesn’t like Epsom.”
“He loves Ascot and if the beast who won the Champion Stakes turns up then we’re going to have lots of fun. His CV is tremendous. I’m as excited as anyone about Wednesday.”
In recent years Dettori has formed a profitable allegiance with US trainer Wesley Ward, who saddles reigning champion Lady Aurelia in the King’s Stand Stakes on the opening day.
He said: “I’m going to ride one for him in the Queen Mary and hopefully I can find another Lady Aurelia.
“All Wesley says to me when I ride one of his two-year-olds is ‘just hold on’. They’re so quick from the gates and his record is fantastic.”
He will also be reunited with 2015 Diamond Jubilee winner Undrated, and he said: “He runs in the Wokingham and if he’s half as good as he used to be then he’s got a great chance.” – racingpost.com