Ryan Moore rode his 50th Royal Ascot winner on Hunting Horn in the opener on Ladies Day on Thursday, but Frankie Dettori stole the show as he got the best out of Stradivarius in a sensational finish to the Gold Cup, his 60th success at the Royal meeting.
Two stunning landmark efforts from two of the world’s greatest jockeys set up what could be a tremendous tussle between the pair over the final two days of the sun-drenched fixture with bookmakers taking very different views about who will come out on top.
Moore, whose win on Hunting Horn (5/1) in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes brought up his Royal half century, went on to make it 51 soon after when partnering Magic Wand (10/3) to an impressive success in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes. Both horses were trained by Aidan O’Brien. Dettori, who landed a sparkling treble on the opening day of the meeting before drawing a blank on Wednesday that included the defeat of Cracksman, rode a tremendous race on John Gosden’s Stradivarius (7/4jf) to just get the better of the gallant French star Vazirabad and Ireland’s Torcedor, as former winner Order of St George wilted in fourth place.
Leading 4-3 after day three, Bet365 make Dettori an 8/11 shot to finish top jockey at the meeting, and go 6/4 about Ryan Moore, but taking issue with that assessment are Ladbrokes who make Moore odds-on at 4/7 with Dettori available at 11/8.
The pick of Dettori’s mounts on Friday appear to be Raa Atoll (5/1 with William Hill) in the King Edward VII Stakes, the unexposed Voracious (9/1 with Marathonbet) in the Coronation Stakes, and Thundering Blue (7/1 with BetBright) in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap, while Moore has a ride in every race for O’Brien including the favourite Just Wonderful (5/2 with 10Bet) in the Albany Stakes, Derby sixth Delano Roosevelt (7/2 with Unibet) in the King Edward VII Stakes, Sioux Nation (5/1 with Bet365) in the Commonwealth Cup, and Clemmie (9/2 with Paddy Power) in the Coronation Stakes.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.