Racing: Best can be magnificent on Dettori's anniversary

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes attracts Ireland's much-vaunted Hawk Wing but opening day marred by a dangerous surface

It is hard to get away from Frankie Dettori in the sport of racing, or even the sport of shopping for that matter when you see the little man's face in supermarkets beaming from the packaging of pizza and ice cream, presumably just how momma used to make it.

There are those who believe Dettori does not ride often enough these days to hone his natural talents, that the showbiz has taken over from the athletic pursuit which propelled him on to the stage in the first place.

It is today, however, that we remember the afternoon which made the Italian as a jockey, as an athlete across the broad spectrum, the afternoon when he rode seven consecutive winners on one of Britain's most competitive race cards.

This is, to the day, the sixth anniversary of the Magnificent Seven, when Dettori's accumulator came in at just over 25,000-1. He has at least given himself every prospect of a repetition by organising a ride in each race. Now all he has to do is win on every one of them.

"The chance of another seven is a 300-year thing," he said yesterday, "but I've got some good rides and let's hope for a good day. The big race is the most important thing."

The big race is, though, a disappointment. The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is supposedly the greatest all-aged mile race in Europe, a Group One contest which regularly produces Europe's champion miler. This year, that vacancy is already taken. The envelope has been opened and Rock Of Gibraltar's name was on the card.

The heir to Brigadier Gerard, Warning and Dubai Millennium will come from just five runners, one of them a pacemaker. Sholokhov, who will blast off largely for the benefit of Hawk Wing, will have to go into therapy at the end of the season. The poor old devil, who ran in the St Leger last time, cannot know if he is coming or going.

Ballydoyle's Hawk Wing will be long odds-on but this is a contest which intermittently likes to deliver a surprise. Twelve months ago the pacemaker was actually successful when Summoner led home Noverre, who misses today's race after a last-minute setback. There have been other shockers like 66-1 Maroof in 1994 and, for those of us who have to be helped on with their trousers in the morning, there is the memory of Buzzards Bay at 50-1 in 1982.

The word from Godolphin is that Best Of The Bests (next best 4.20) will take over at the front when Sholokhov has had enough, and then try to run the will out of Hawk Wing. Given that the latter may have been eroded by some top-level assignments already, Dettori's mount is a passable alternative.

Regardless of the historical quality of the QEII this is a considerable day for the racing aficionado. There are seven live races on Channel 4, including Plumpton and a debut on that particular station for Market Rasen. The BBC are more mainstream, with three from Haydock and the first five on the middle and most significant day of Ascot's Festival Of Racing.

First up in Berkshire is the Royal Lodge Stakes, which has given us subsequent Classic winners in recent years. The 1993 victor, Mister Baileys, went on to 2,000 Guineas success, while Benny The Dip, the winner three years later, subsequently pocketed the Derby.

If there is to be any successor, it it is likely to be the world's dearest yearling last year, Van Nistelrooy (2.00), whom you might consider rather expensive when he was an untried piece of horseflesh at $6.4m. Since all the zeros were written out Van Nistelrooy has won three races and, rather tellingly, been beaten last time out by Refuse To Bend in the National Stakes at the Curragh. If he is not to look a tad overpriced he must win this afternoon.

The Fillies' Mile is an even better established guide to the following season's Classics, with eight of the 28 winners and four placed horses going on to British Classic glory. This looks to be between Soviet Song and Summitville (2.35), who finished in that order in the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket last month. Since then, though, the former has had a cough and has only recently resumed training.

Victory for Summitville would herald a strange kind of celebration. It has been a rough week at the Lincolnshire yard of James Given, where one of the stable girls, Rebecca Davies, was killed on the gallops.

The bet of the day is another Dettori mount and if he has landed all the winners by the time Demonstrate steps out for the Tote Trifecta Handicap the bookmakers will be squealing like stuck pigs. Whatever has gone before, DEMONSTRATE (nap 3.40) is a tasty proposition. He has won a race of this distance here, the Buckingham Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting, and is sent out by the old handicap fox, John Gosden.

sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all