Dettori reduces odds against Arc Fairytale

The Italian aims to join an elite group of four-time winners in a remarkable 24th successive ride in the Longchamp showpiece

Win or lose, Frankie Dettori will extend a remarkable record in Paris this afternoon. His ride on Snow Fairy in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe will be his 24th in succession in Europe's richest race, a near quarter-century sequence which is testament to his skill, professionalism and consistency. Dettori, rather as did Desert Orchid, has become one of the few racing icons recognisable outside the confines of the sport. And, as in the case of the horse, his very fame and charisma may have slightly obscured what a very good rider he is.

The Italian, now 40, has already taken three Arcs, on Lammtarra in 1995, Sakhee (2001) and Marienbard (2002) and once his place in Snow Fairy's saddle was confirmed, she became one of the best-backed horses for today's £3.5 million purse at Longchamp. The filly is now around 12-1 – having been twice that price a week ago – to put her jockeyalongside Jacques Doyasbère, Freddy Head, Yves Saint-Martin and Pat Eddery as a four-time winner.

Dettori's three previous winners were all for his retaining Godolphin stable, but he has ridden for eight others in the 12-furlong contest. Snow Fairy is trained by Ed Dunlop in Newmarket and has persuasive credentials for her greatest test.

The four-year-old, a dual Oaks heroine, already has two top-level international victories on her CV, having taken valuable prizes in Hong Kong and Japan last autumn. Cristina Patino's tough little globetrotter has not won since then but produced a career-best last time when running today's second-favourite So You Think to half a length at Leopardstown.

She steps back up to her optimum 12 furlongs today, the warm, dry conditions should keep the ground firm enough for her, and her come-from-behind style should cancel out her unfavourable draw.

The last four-year-old filly to take the Arc was Urban Sea in 1993, and only one of her sex, three-year-old Zarkava three years ago, has scored since. But females have a respectable record towards the sharp end and, indeed, last year's arguably unlucky third, Sarafina – another four-year-old – heads the market this time. The six-strong girlpower contingent includes a perhaps under-rated outsider from Germany, Danedream.

Out of luck at Longchamp yesterday when Rio De La Plata was mugged in the last stride of the Prix Daniel Wildenstein by Rajsaman, Dettori is in search of his 500th Group winner, another extraordinary achievement. It may be safely recorded before the big one, when he rides exciting juvenile Dabirsim in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

All sorts of statistics will be under sprightly threat in the main event. The Antipodeans have never won an Arc; New Zealand-bred Australian champion So You Think, now in the care of Aidan O'Brien in Ireland, is aiming to go one better than 1977 runner-up Balmerino.

Nor have the Japanese, who have come closest with El Condor Pasa in 1999 and Nakayama Festa, beaten a short head by Workforce 12 months ago. Last year's second tries again, alongside compatriot Hiruno d'Amour. As does his Sir Michael Stoute-trained conqueror. But the latest of six horses to take back-to-back Arcs was Alleged back in 1978.

A St Leger winner has yet to take an Arc; John Gosden-trained Masked Marvel, longest-priced of the three Newmarket raiders, carries the honour of the oldest Classic this time.

Only one man has both ridden and trained a winner, Charles Semblat between 1927 and 1949. Freddy Head, victorious on board Bon Mot, San San, Ivanjika and Three Troikas, bids to match him with Galikova.

At Longchamp yesterday there was a strike for the raiders – Sea Of Heartbreak, from Roger Charlton's Wiltshire yard, swooped late to take the Prix de Royallieu. On the domestic front Richard Hannon extended his lead in the defence of his trainer's title as Coup De Ville and Tell Dad gave him a one-two in the £500,000 Tattersalls Millions 2-Y-O Trophy and Mick Channon's charge Samitar, a Group 1 runner-up eight days previously, stamped her class on the equivalent filly race.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"