Tuesday 23 November 2021

5 of the Best: Frankie Dettori Wins at Irish Racecourses

Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori has done it all in racing, and then he has come back and done it all over again. It’s now almost a decade since he passed the milestone of 500 Group winners, and he is still going strong. He’s also approaching 300 Group 1 winners, and he has surpassed 3,000 winners overall. The stats are ridiculous, and if you have followed Dettori’s career, you will know that we have not the column space to go through all the Italian’s achievements. 

Of course, his greatest achievement came with that mind-boggling seven wins from seven races at Ascot in 1996. The 25th anniversary of the achievement was celebrated in September of this year. With many sports outlets interviewing Dettori and asking him to relive his memories from that miraculous day. The 25,000-1 odds have made it such a part of betting folklore, and it’s the reason for the creation of the Frankie Dettori Magic Seven casino game by Playtech. While the odds of that day will never be repeated, Dettori’s career has played out in such a way that the Ascot Magnificent Seven doesn’t define him: That says it all, really. 

Dettori loves to come to Ireland, too. And as you might imagine, he has come away with plenty of the spoils whenever he visits the racecourse of the Emerald Isle. Below we look at some of his best Irish wins:

Balanchine – Irish Derby 1994 (The Curragh

Dettori has a storied relationship with Godolphin, whose international racing operation really got underway in 1994. The Epsom Oaks was landed (Godolphin’s first Classic win) in June of that year, and then Frankie and the filly went to Ireland to land the Derby a few weeks later. It was Dettori’s biggest win in Ireland at the time, but he would come back for more. 

Daylami – Irish Champion Stakes 1999 (Leopardstown) 

Dettori has won the Irish Champion Stakes six times (just one behind Michael Kinane’s record of seven, if you were wondering). He has done so on some wonderful horses, including Golden Horn and Fantastic Light. However, the pick of the bunch has to be the stunning ride on Daylami in 1999. Daylami would also give Dettori his first of two Tattersalls Gold Cups a year earlier. 

Dubawi – Irish 2,000 Guineas 2005 (The Curragh) 

Another dual winner in Ireland, Dubawi won the National Stakes in 2004 and the 2,000 Guineas a year later with Dettori in the saddle. He was a superb horse, and this was a cracking race with Dubawi finishing impressively to hold off co-favourite Oratorio. Dubawi has gone on to have a significant stud career, siring winners of several Group 1 races.

Wicklow Brave – Irish St Leger 2016 (The Curragh) 

We had to mention this one because it is one of the rare partnerships between two legends of racing, Dettori and Willie Mullins. The latter is, of course, known for his success in jumps racing, but he worked with Dettori here to land Group 1 success in the St Leger. The trio of Wicklow Brave, Mullins and Dettori would try to replicate that success later in the Melbourne Cup, but they fell short of the standard in a frustrating race.

Enable – Irish Champion Stakes 2017 (Leopardstown) 

Is Enable the best horse on this list? Wins in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe (twice), King George (thrice) and Epsom Oaks, as well as being twice named European Horse of the Year would underline that argument. By the time Enable came to take the Irish Oaks, she was just really getting started on a stellar career. More importantly, though, it was a sign of a second coming for Dettori, who was given a new lease of life through a partnership with John Gosden.