Bookmakers left Qipco British Champions Day smiling despite Frankie Dettori threatening to inflict one last telling blow on their satchels with a big-race double.
The Italian had an enviable book of mounts for his final day riding in Britain and with accumulators on the weighing-room great proving popular prior to racing, the layers would have been fearing the worst when the 52-year-old struck in his first ride of the day aboard Godolphin’s Trawlerman.
Memories of Dettori’s famous ‘Magnificent Seven’ at Ascot must have come flooding back, especially when 5-4 favourite Kinross hit the front in the following Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.
However, the layers earnt a reprieve as Tim Easterby’s 40-1 outsider Art Power fought back gamely to down the Dettori multiples.
A further shock victory for 22-1 shot Poptronic in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes was followed by the defeat of hot favourite Paddington in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the bookmakers were well on top by the time Dettori brought the house down with a thrilling victory in the day’s feature Qipco Champion Stakes aboard 3-1 favourite King Of Steel.
“The Frankie accas proved predictably popular, and so Trawlerman’s win in the opener was not the result we wanted to see, but fortunately for us Art Power collared Kinross in the final yards of the Sprint, a result which meant we were able to relax,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
“Poptronic and Big Rock were two further results in our favour, and although Frankie delivered the perfect ending to this stage of his career when bringing King Of Steel home in front in the Champion Stakes to the joy of his many fans, it wasn’t enough to spoil our day.”
Officials at Ascot were also heading home smiling after the star attraction delivered in style at the course’s end-of-season showpiece.
“We’ve had a great day, what a fantastic farewell for Frankie and a wonderful Champion Stakes,” said clerk of the course Chris Stickels.
“We had a bit of rain and we were very glad we changed tracks, it’s been a positive day. It’s been wonderful.
“It was great racing. There’s always a really good racing crowd on Champions Day but there was a particularly fantastic atmosphere this afternoon. It was quite unique, I’ve never know it like that before.”
The official attendance was 30,369 – a figure which left Rod Street, chief executive of Great British Racing and British Champions Series, more than satisfied.
He said: “We are delighted with a crowd in excess of 30,000 today, who enjoyed an afternoon of top-class horseracing, creating as always some wonderful stories.
“The Frankie Dettori factor was an extra attraction this year and we are thrilled that racing’s greatest showman saved a little bit of stardust for his final Group One ride in Europe.”