To the delight of many, he was the top jockey at Glorious Goodwood last year. And it’s a spot Frankie Dettori would enjoying filling again.
The popular Italian has been the Darling of the Downs for years but he excelled himself at the inaugural Qatar Goodwood Festival with a string of wins – including several for the Qatari sponsors of the event.
That led to a series of his famous flying dismounts which delighted the crowds.
The man who had his first UK winner 29 years ago at Goodwood will be back this year, eyeing up glory in the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes on board Galileo Gold and perhaps the chance to reach a big career milestone.
Dettori said: “It’s a beautiful week and Goodwood is the most picturesque racecourse in the country, especially when it’s sunny. I’m really looking forward to it.
“Goodwood looks relaxed but is actually hard work because there are seven races a day for five days and it needs a lot of thinking, studying and preparation... quite an intense week for a jockey.
“Sheikh Joaan and Qatar have sponsored the meeting again and there is huge prize money on offer, especially the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes.”
Dettori has high hopes for 2000 Guineas and St James’ Palace Stakes winner Galileo Gold.
“He is a Classic winner and (after being beaten in Ireland) he redeemed himself in the St James’ Palace Stakes, beating two other Guineas winners (The Gurkha and Awtaad). Because of the sponsorship, the Qatar Sussex Stakes has always been his aim and Hugo (Palmer – the trainer) has been very pleased with him – we will go out there and do our stuff.
“Galileo Gold won at this meeting last year so has form on the track. He is a very exciting horse.”
Dettori praised trainer Palmer, saying: “It is amazing what Hugo has achieved in his career. He only had his first Classic winner last season.
“His attention to detail, preparation and planning is second to none and I am just very pleased that Galileo Gold is in his hands.”
Dettori is also set to ride recent Newmarket winner Mehmas – trained by Richard Hannon for Al Shaqab Racing – in the Qatar Richmond Stakes. “He won well at Newmarket and is a gutsy horse who always tries his best. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is guaranteed to run a big race,” Dettori said.
Last year’s Stewards’ Cup winner Magical Memory, ridden by Dettori for Charlie Hills, is likely to switch to the five-furlong Qatar King George Stakes.
Dettori is ten victories away from his 3,000th British winner, his first having come at Goodwood on Lizzy Hare in June 1987.
He said: “It has been a great journey and would be ironic if my 3,000th winner could come at Goodwood. It goes without saying Goodwood has always been a special place for me as I had my first winner there.
“I am not trying to plan anything, but if it happened at Goodwood it would be great.Al Shaqab Racing had a great meeting last year and it was great to see Dubday become the first Qatari-trained horse to win in Britain.
“It was a real milestone.”
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