Wichita and Frankie Dettori edged a thrilling duel with One Master to win the bet365 Park Stakes by short head at Doncaster.
Dettori, riding for Aidan O’Brien in the famous Coolmore silks, just edged the verdict in a photo finish after Wichita and One Master had served up a terrific tussle in the final furlong of the Group Two contest on Town Moor.
Wichita was narrowly denied himself at this meeting 12 months ago, when a half-length runner-up to the reopposing Molatham in the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes.
He was also a close second in this year’s 2000 Guineas – but this time, it was Wichita’s turn as he doubled his Group tally, winning as the 11-4 favourite.
Dettori, who had finished only eighth on Wichita in the Prix Maurice de Gheest last time out, said: “He ran a bit flat in Deauville, but he was a fresh horse today – he was bucking going to the start.
“I was always confident, but when (One Master’s jockey) Tom (Marquand) jumped so quickly at me I wasn’t so sure on the line.
“He deserves it – he was second in the Guineas and has been a model of consistency. I’m pleased he’s put his head in front today.
“I think seven (furlongs) is spot on for him.”
One Master, a previous Group One winner for William Haggas, had to settle for second at 7-2, with Molatham (3-1) back in third.
Stone Of Destiny had earlier produced a telling late rattle up the stands side to deny the well-backed Danzeno in the bet365 Portland Handicap.
Andrew Balding’s sprinter, drawn high in stall 18, still had some running to do when the 11-2 favourite scampered clear a furlong out in a typically-competitive renewal of the historic race.
But Silvestre de Sousa had things in hand as Stone Of Destiny got to the front and stayed on for an emphatic success at 16-1 – by a length and a quarter from Danzeno, with 25-1 shot Yimou and Arecibo (15-2) a further two lengths and three-quarters of a length back in third and fourth.
Stone Of Destiny, making his 27th racecourse appearance, was visiting Doncaster for the first time.
Balding said: “Everything needs to drop right for him, as it does with a lot of these sprint handicappers.
“We felt this would be his type of race – his ideal distance and a strong pace – and it’s worked out well. Silvestre gave him a lovely ride.”
De Sousa added: “He’s run in a lot of these competitive sprint handicaps in the past.
“I didn’t want to get there too soon, but I knew I had a clear run travelling on the right-hand side. I could see I was going to get there.”
Matthew Flinders justified 5-2 favouritism in the opening Sky Sport Racing HD Virgin 535 Handicap.
Ridden by Marquand for Ed Walker, Matthew Flinders was previously a course winner over 10 furlongs back in June.
Reverting to a mile this time, the three-year-old arrived from off the pace to lead in the last furlong and comfortably keep Magical Morning and Frankie Dettori at bay by a length and a quarter.
Marquand was impressed with the winner, and anticipates significant further improvement.
“He still showed signs of relative immaturity,” he said.
“He’s such a big horse he’s not quite learnt where all his toes are yet.
“I could have ridden him any which way, and he still would have won. He’s a nice horse with a big future.”
Lone Eagle (3-1) gave De Sousa a double with a game victory in the Matthew Clark Nursery Handicap.
The Martyn Meade-trained youngster made most of the running and rallied splendidly when headed, to outstay 11-8 favourite Legend Of Dubai by a length and a quarter.
Jim Crowley was out of luck in the St Leger with Hukum, but at least ended the day with victory on Away He Goes (100-30) in the Magners Dark Fruit Cider Handicap.
Ismail Mohammed’s four-year-old strode past Mankayan in the last half-furlong to score by three lengths.
Crowley said: “It was lovely. He got a nice toe round and the race fell into his lap nicely.
“He likes the quick ground and he’d stay further.”