Frankie will be hoping for his fourth Arc success, when Golden Horn lines up in Sunday’s spectacular.
Three times a victor when riding for Saeed bin Suroor, his last win came aboard Marienbard in 2002. Thought to be a stayer for much of his career, it was only as a five-year-old that the son of Caerleon was campaigned at middle-distance. The decision to drop him in trip proved a masterstroke. He won three consecutive Group 1’s culminating in a narrow victory over Sulamani in the Arc at Longchamp.
The win made it back to back triumphs for rider and connections, having won France’s prestigious prize a year earlier with Sakhee. Second to Sinndar in the Epsom Derby of 2000, injury threatened to end his career prematurely. But after surgery he returned in dazzling form as a four-year-old, winning at Newbury before a sensational success in the Juddmonte Stakes at York. He was no less impressive in the Arc when streaking clear to win by six lengths.
Should Dettori ride Gosden’s Derby winner to victory this weekend it would not be the first time that he’s steered an Epsom hero to success at Longchamp. Back in 1995 the Italian maestro drove Lammtarra to a thrilling victory. He hadn’t been on board when the Nijinsky colt won at Epsom, but was on top for the King George, when the horse showed all his battling qualities to win a thriller over Geoff Wragg’s classy colt Pentire.
His final racecourse outing came in the Arc, and was no less thrilling, with Dettori sending him to the front as the field turned for home. He managed to fight off all-comers up the straight to land a famous victory by less than a length from Freedom Cry, with a further two lengths back to Swain. Retired undefeated with just four career starts to his name, Lammtarra was not only a class act, but had the bravery required to become a true champion.
And so with 2015 being very much the year of the Dettori renaissance, could the outstanding jockey steal the show and bring about a defeat that would stun a nation. Many believe that Treve is unbeatable, but with every dry day that passes, the chances of a Golden Horn success increase. The irony of Frankie being on board would not be lost on Treve’s connections. It’s only a year since he lost the ride on the wonder filly, despite being Sheikh Joaan Al Thani's retained rider.
The prospect of Thierry Jarnet and Frankie Dettori side by side in a driving finish would be a fitting finale to one of the most eagerly anticipated renewals in recent times.