Frankie: Reliving the Magnificent 7 at Ascot two decades later
Imagine the reaction there’d be in today’s Social Media savvy world should a jockey go through the card and win all seven races on one glorious afternoon. Oh, and all at cumulative odds of 25,059-1.
Well, it made a big enough splash on September 28, 1996 and the achievement is still filling thousands of column inches even today. That’s the Frankie Dettori factor for you. He was the first to complete such a feat and the Ladbrokes brand ambassador remains unrivalled in that respect.
As part of our own celebrations, we’re reliving that incredible day 20 years ago. A day when 25-year-old Frankie cost the bookies a £40m fortune. A day that transcended racing and thrust the Italian into the sporting stratosphere. A day that changed Frankie’s life, forever.
As for his willing partners, here are The Magnificent 7…
Wall Street II
The Cumberland Lodge Stakes win under Saaed Bin Suroor’s inmate was expected, with Dettori taking the Group 3 Derby-distance event by half a length from Salmon Ladder at 2/1.
The Group 2 Diadem Stakes was supposed to be a much tougher test for Dettori and Bin Suroor, with Diffident sent off joint fifth-favourite at 12/1, yet finishing a shoulder ahead of 15/8 jolly Lucayan Prince.
Diffident had won just one of his past five races and finished ninth of nine at Newmarket in his previous run. But Dettori clearly did the trick during his first ride aboard the son of Nureyev.
Mark Of Esteem
Dettori had ridden this Godolphin colt to 2000 Guineas success in May 1996 but Alain de Royer-Dupre’s Ashkalani led the market for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at 11/4, with Mark Of Esteem sharing second-favouritism with Sir Henry Cecil’s Bosra Sham at 10/3.
The superstar miler saw off all comers to win by over a length.
It’s fair to say that John Gosden’s four-year-old was well fancied in the 26-runner Festival Handicap, with only 5/2 favourite High Summer going off at a shorter price than Dettori’s 7/1 mount.
However, few expected the top weight to triumph by as much as 3½l. Clearly something was brewing…
By the time the Rosemary Stakes rolled round, few people were backing anyone but Dettori, leaving a horse that had failed as favourite in two of her previous four races 7/4 at the off.
Ed Dunlop’s mare won by a neck from Michael Jarvis’ 25/1 runner-up Abeyr, sending the bookies into panic mode.
When Ian Balding’s two-year-old took the Blue Seal Conditions Stakes less than a length ahead of 5/4 joint-favourite Corsini, the accumulated odds of Dettori’s six winners soared past 8,000/1, meaning punters chasing the seven-timer who took early prices were looking at that payout times 12 in the last.
Trainer Michael Stoute didn’t think his horse had a chance and one bookie lost £1m from laying off the four-year-old at up to 16/1, when most others had chipped him down to 2/1 due to the massive liabilities Dettori’s six victories had produced.
Fujiyama Crest was carrying top weight and held little recent form, but his last win came in the same race 12 months previously, under the same rider and in similar conditions, so the 12/1 early show seemed a little chunky.
The rest, as they say, is glorious history.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.