ROYAL ASCOT 2020: Three decades and nothing changes for evergreen winner Dettori

Jockey Frankie Dettori riding Fanny Logan wins The Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot
Jockey Frankie Dettori riding Fanny Logan wins The Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot

Frankie Dettori rode his 70th Royal Ascot winner exactly 30 years on from his first but had a clear message - ‘I’m not finished yet’, writes Will Jennings.

Still the hottest jockey in town, he piloted John Gosden’s Fanny Logan to a two-and-a-half length triumph in the Hardwicke Stakes, following up his glorious hat-trick of Gold Cup successes on Stradivarius yesterday.

Markofdistinction was the first back on June 19 1990 - trained by Luca Cumani, father of popular ITV presenter Francesca - as a 19-year-old Dettori kick-started the most storied of relationships with Ascot in style.

And while many things have changed in racing across those three decades, his insatiable desire for improvement has not.

“It’s brilliant to have 70 – that’s a lot. I want number 71 now!” said the 49-year-old.

“I actually forgot I was one short of 70 winners, so that’s another milestone – it is good.

“I love Fanny Logan. On paper, I thought maybe we were just racing for a place, but John gave me a lot of confidence and said she had improved mentally and physically.

“I was further back than I wanted to be, but they started racing pretty early and by the time I got to the furlong marker, they were all dead and she showed a good turn of foot – it was good.

“She has improved from three to four, she is bigger and stronger, she was very fit, and she liked the ground. It was a proper performance and she has definitely improved from last year.”

Fanny Logan’s triumph marked Dettori’s third of this week’s Royal Meeting, also piloting the Gosden pair of Frankly Darling and the majestic Stradivarius to imperious victories.

And it also represented the trainer’s fifth win of the renewal, after Jim Crowley - who has banged in six winners and looks well-placed to be crowned the meeting’s top jockey - and James Doyle guided Nazeef and Lord North to glory.

But Friday was all about Dettori, whose infectious longevity continues to capture hearts of fans across the globe.

He has clinched the Royal Meeting’s top prize on no fewer than six occasions, ending a 15 year wait for the title last year as he rode a staggering seven winners off into the sunset.

And he’s got plenty more chances to get close to that figure this year, with further rides booked on Jessica Harrington’s Alpine Star, Gosden’s Palace Pier and Denis Hogan’s superstar sprinter Sceptical in a trio of Saturday Group Ones.

Gosden and Dettori have struck up quite a partnership in recent years and the trainer knows just what makes the man so special.

“Frankie’s belying his years and it is a pleasure to be around him,” he said.

“He is one of the few who is extremely accurate when talking about horses in the mornings – what they need and what they don’t need.

“His knowledge and his feel when riding work in the morning - he is a great race-reader and a fabulous jockey and we are lucky to have him about.”