“It seems like yesterday. I can’t put in to words what I achieved that day. Winning seven races at Ascot was something I never thought would happen” Frankie Dettori
Saturday 28 September 1996 is one of the most famous dates in the history of the turf when a 25 year old ebullient and brilliantly talented Italian grabbed the world’s headlines when he “went through the card” at Ascot’s Festival meeting.
Champion jockey and retained by Sheikh Mohammed’s mighty Godolphin team the events that afternoon catapulted him into super stardom.
His day began with an expected win in the royal blue Godolphin silks on the 2/1 favourite Wall Street in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes. Number two came via the 12/1 outsider Diffident for his retained stable in the Diadem Stakes.
Next up was the feature race, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, where Frankie rode Mark of Esteem, Godolphin’s 2,000 Guineas winner. To complete the treble, a furlong from home an inspired Frankie found a gap off the rails to cut down Henry Cecil’s classic winning filly Bosra Sham.
Decorated Hero won the Festival Handicap in a 26 runner field under top weight to make it four, while Fatefully, once again for Godolphin, made it a nap hand, and the six timer was secured by the two year old Lochangel.
Frankie made all on the Michael Stoute trained Fujiyama Crest, under 10st, to
win the Gordon Carter Handicap by a neck to complete a 25,051/1 seven timer and empty the bookies' satchels.
A 12/1 outsider in the morning, due to the seismic betting frenzy following Frankie the four year old had been backed down to 2/1 favourite.
Entering the winner’s enclosure the ecstatic crowd was treated to a flamboyant flying dismount before the spray of champagne by the conquering hero.
We are incredibly lucky to have been donated the colours worn by Frankie on that incredible day. These will be on display in the new National Horseracing Museum in a gallery named ‘Sporting Glory’ where Frankie himself will talk visitors through the emotions of the day he made history in a special AV display of 'Winning Moments'!
Make sure you come and visit from 24th October!
Claire Balding’s recollection of the day;
“I’ve known Frankie since he first came to the UK and he had an early association with a brilliant sprinter trained by my father called Lochsong. Dad also provided one of his seven winners at Ascot when he went through the card in September, 1996. I was there as the reporter for BBC Radio and had to keep updating bulletins and sending interviews with Frankie to 5 Live. It was one of the most memorable days of my life and an early highlight in my career. He’s a superstar and one of, if not THE most valuable asset to British racing.”
Blog by Stephen Wallis, quotes provided by Great British Racing
Photo (c) Alan Grundy