Racing: Soviet Song to steal Dettori's limelight at Ascot curtain call

It has been quite a season and quite a week for Frankie Dettori, who has been out among his public to alert us all to the fact that his autobiography is in all good bookstores (presumably on the lowest shelf in case his colleagues want to buy one).

Dettori has been on the television more surely than post-holiday dust, hawking his ware cross-channel with Natasha Kaplinsky and Fern Britton, one of whom apparently is Britain's sexiest presenter, the other "the best loved", signing books in swish metropolitan hotels and, last evening, attending Ascot's finale dinner as guest of honour.

The clue to this all is in the name of yesterday's dining location. Dettori is in possession of a luminous character and level of ability that has always guaranteed him a prominent role in racing, but nothing would quite be the same (and the publishers have diligently noted this) without the Italian's feat at this Ascot meeting in 1996. No one before or since has ridden all seven winners on a card.

Dettori's great skill was that he managed his unique compilation not at a bush track or on a blustery Monday, but on one of the most colourful days in the racing calendar. Theatre, we have come to learn, he can do quite well.

As he hunts down another championship in the growling opposition of Kieren Fallon, Dettori believes, without resort to false modesty, that he is riding as well as at any time in his life. Even he, however, concedes that a repeat seven-timer is unlikely, though the fact that he does not ride in one race today is probably the main driver to that thought.

Such is the glory of today's card that just one win would make it a day to remember. If Frankie starts firing them in, he might bring the stands down, which would at least save Ascot a considerable sum as they embark on demolishing the place after tomorrow's action.

The hub today, though there are some fantastic spokes as well, is the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Brigadier Gerard, Kris, Warning and Dubai Millennium added to their greatness in this race and Markofdistinction's success here in 1990 represented Dettori's first Group One and one of 37 winners he has accumulated at the meeting.

This afternoon, Dettori partners Refuse To Bend, who did a rather shocking send-up of his name last time in the Sussex Stakes, limping home 11th and last. "He was pulling, I couldn't get him to settle, we went flat out and died," the jockey said yesterday. "It was a disaster.

"He won't do that again. We are running a pacemaker [Blatant] and I imagine I will try to get him into a prominent position early on. As he stays a mile and a quarter, he is going to appreciate a good test at a mile."

It will, however, be rather difficult for Refuse To Bend to get a prominent position at any stage with his low draw. Rakti and Haafhd are better treated at the stalls, but the former is in sharp territory back at a mile, while the latter is beginning to compile question marks as much as form figures.

The force then appears to lie with Soviet Song (4.10), three times a Group One winner this year and one which knows how to win a big race at this meeting. James Fanshawe's filly likes to come off the pace and will need all Johnny Murtagh's needle-threading expertise to get through. "In a race like this you obviously need plenty of luck in running," the Newmarket trainer said. "There are going to be plenty of hard-luck stories and I just hope I'm not telling one of them."

Classic ante-post lists are likely to get a jiggle after the Royal Lodge Stakes and Fillies' Mile. The colts' adventure, the opening race, should get the bookmakers atrembling as the Dettori-ridden Perfectperformance (1.55) is the likely winner.

The Fillies' Mile is tight and the overall form queen is probably Barry Hills's Maids Causeway. She has the beating of Playfulact (nap 2.30) on their running at Doncaster this month, but there was something quite compelling about the way John Gosden's filly repelled boarders that day. She could win an Oaks as well as this.

The draw will be of significance in the Diadem Stakes and the berth of The Tatling (3.00) should offset his penalty. The following contest is as close as you can get to a pattern race while still a handicap. Luca Cumani is no fool in this area, or any other, and his name allied with the progressive form of Ettrick Water (next best 3.35) is persuasion enough.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Production Administrator

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading and fastest ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sunroom / Conservatory / Extension Designers

£16000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Planning Assistant

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the count...

Recruitment Genius: Purchase Ledger Administrator

£5120 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence