Racing: Dettori praises 'the best in world'

Click to follow
We saw the last of Singspiel here yesterday and the manner of his departure made the parting all the more sorrowful.

The noble five-year-old has a maximum of two races remaining in his glorious career following victory in the International Stakes on the Knavesmire and any further witnesses to a live performance will have to fly across the Atlantic for the pleasure. Singspiel leaves Europe with earnings closing on pounds 3.7m, which makes him the most productive throughbred in history to be based on this continent, but his value cannot be measured in sterling alone. He is an animal who pleases the eye as much as the pocket. Once again yesterday he threw in front of us a unique blend of calibre and hardiness which, by any rationalisation, must make him the best horse in the world.

This was the certain, if hardly impartial, assessment of Frankie Dettori, who, in fairness, has had some top-of-the-range vehicles beneath him. "He is the best horse I have ever ridden," the Italian said. "He has beaten them all. He's beaten Helissio, he's beaten the best American horses and now he's beaten Bosra Sham. He's undoubtedly the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

"I've ridden great horses like Lammtarra and Halling, who was electric in this race last year, but Singspiel is the best."

If the roses had to come showering down on Singspiel it was appropriate that it should be at the setting of a searing Ebor meeting. Around the paddock there were racecards fluttering, in an alternative function as fans, which lent the impression of a Movietone FA Cup final.

Four horses may not consititute the most thunderous spectacle the turf has ever seen, but that had not stolen anticipation for the occasion and there were plenty wanting to get on with it. The jockeys bounded down the steps into an empty parade ring and then the racecourse announcer requested them to mount, which would have been considerably easier if any horseflesh had been visible.

Desert King was the restless figure once the stalls opened, throwing his head around as he was restrained at the tail. Up front an Indian file of Benny The Dip, Singspiel and racing's first lady, Bosra Sham, developed.

The first decisive moment came when the turf's Cinderella lost a shoe on the entrance to the straight and for her there would be no fairy-tale ending. The second came when Dettori depressed the accelerator. "I wanted to make a race of it because I knew my horse was a great battler, so three and a half furlongs out I said let's go," the Italian reported. Singspiel burst clear and the rest just burst.

Michael Stoute and Sheikh Mohammed, the winning trainer and owner, formed the bookends at the horse's head when Singspiel was led in. The former had perspiration about his face, which was due to the weather rather than worry. "He was always travelling so well that we didn't have a single anxious moment," Stoute said. "It was a superbly professional display."

All that remains is the final show at Hollywood Park in the Breeders' Cup Classic, which may be preceded by a prep race over the water. "I've loved having him and when he goes we'll miss him enormously," Stoute said. "We" will embrace anyone who saw the horse called Singspiel.

Today's York card, page 21