Frankie Dettori tuned up for the ride on his “favourite horse” Stradivarius with a fantastic treble on day two of the Cazoo St Leger Festival at Doncaster.
The effervescent Italian proved there is still plenty of life in his 50-year-old body when partnering Inspiral and Free Wind to two easy victories in both Group Two races on the card.
But perhaps the victory which gave him the biggest thrill of the afternoon was that of Harrovian in the closing Hilton Garden Inn Doncaster Conditions Stakes, having been sent off the outsider of the three runners at 7-2.
While William Buick’s mount Secret Protector dropped away as Dettori set the pace, Ryan Moore hit the front on Sinjaari – but to the winning jockey’s delight, Harrovian dug deep to get back up and prevail by a head.
“That was amazing. I thought he (Moore) had me beat, but in fairness he stuck his neck out,” said Dettori.
“All my friends are here today, and my wife, so they gave me a cheer – it’s been a good day.”
Casting his mind forward 24 hours to Friday’s feature, the Group Two Doncaster Cup, he added: “Strad is my favourite horse, and I can’t wait to ride him.”
Earlier, Inspiral strengthened her position at the head of the betting for the 1000 Guineas with a straightforward win in the Cazoo May Hill Stakes.
“She’s a work in progress, and I think she’ll be better next year when she strengthens up,” said Dettori.
“At the moment she’s all frame. I think that (Fillies’ Mile) is where we should go – and then she’s got all winter to strengthen up.
“Potentially she’s a Guineas horse.”
Free Wind, sent off the 15-8 favourite, put up a startling performance in the Hippo Pro3 Park Hill Fillies’ Stakes – streaking seven lengths clear of her rivals.
“She hasn’t stopped improving. Wow, what a performance today – she’s improved a lot,” said Dettori.
“I suspect the Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend will be next.
“I rode her on loose ground in Deauville, and good to firm today, and she’s getting better.
“She’s quite tiny – but she’s got a massive heart, with a big engine.”
All three winners were trained by John and Thady Gosden.