10 of the best Frankie Dettori rides at Royal Ascot
Dettori rides at Royal Ascot, horse racing

10 of the best Frankie Dettori rides at Royal Ascot

Frankie Dettori has enjoyed some of his finest moments at Royal Ascot and he bowed out in style with four winners on his final appearance at the Berkshire spectacular.

The famous Italian jockey took his overall tally to 81, putting him second only to the legendary Lester Piggott in the overall table at that point.

Following the 2023 showpiece, we’ve updated our look at 10 of the best Dettori rides at Royal Ascot with a new entry!


Dettori’s career in England famously took off when he teamed up with fellow Italian Luca Cumani, and he provided the jockey with his first Royal Ascot winner at the age of 19 in the Queen Anne in 1990. It was only a Group Two then, but Markofdistinction would go on to prove himself at the highest level in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Drum Taps

Ambitiously campaigned by Lord Huntingdon, Drum Taps stepped up to two and a half miles for the 1992 Gold Cup to provide Dettori with his first Group One winner at the meeting. To prove it was no fluke the pair repeated the trick 12 months later. A real globetrotter, he won in America and Italy and also ran in France, Ireland, the Japan Cup and the Melbourne Cup, finishing ninth behind Vintage Crop.


One of the greatest sights in racing is a sprinter blasting off from the front and few were better at it than Ian Balding’s Lochsong. She won the Stewards’ Cup at three from a mark of 82 and the Ayr Gold Cup off 95 before stepping into Group company. In the first half of 1994 as a six-year-old she won the Palace House, Temple Stakes and King’s Stand, making all in each – the latter by five lengths.

Phantom Gold

Any victory in the late Queen’s colours was treasured by Dettori, but even more so at her favourite meeting. Never happier than when at the races, cheering home her own horse in the Ribblesdale Stakes, a horse she bred herself and ridden by her favourite jockey, will have given her immense satisfaction.


Just 12 months on from his Magnificent Seven, Dettori’s love affair with Ascot was in full flow. The first of three successive leading rider awards came in 1997 and arguably the highlight that week was Starborough, one of four winners at the meeting in the St James’s Palace Stakes in the famous Sheikh Mohammed colours, as one of racing’s longest associations began to assert.

Fantastic Light

Frankie Dettori, Fantastic Light, horse racing

At the turn of the century Godolphin, Saeed bin Suroor and Dettori were at the peak of their powers and Fantastic Light was among the best they were involved with. In 2001 the Prince of Wales’s Stakes was one of four Group Ones victories, which also included a verdict over the great Galileo at Leopardstown and a win at the Breeders’ Cup. On the day at Ascot, he was in a different league.


By 2015 Dettori had endured a well-publicised split from Godolphin and endured the lowest point of his career having been banned for six months for failing a drugs test in 2012. Upon his return he was afforded the chance to ride in the biggest races once more by Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing, and it was in those silks that he rode his 50th Royal Ascot winner on Osaila in the Sandringham Handicap.

Lady Aurelia

American trainer Wesley Ward had been a regular visitor to the meeting for some years before teaming up with Dettori to win the Golden Jubilee in 2015 with Undrafted, but it will be the flying filly Lady Aurelia in the Queen Mary for which they perhaps will be best remembered. Not many five-furlong races are won by seven lengths, but when they are at Group Two level it is unheard of. She returned to win the King’s Stand a year later under John Velazquez.


In the twilight of his career, Dettori was synonymous with two horses – Enable, who never ran at Royal Ascot, and Stradivarius. The great stayer won three Ascot Gold Cups, including by 10 lengths in 2020 when unfortunately the crowds were absent due to Covid. A horse with a real personality, he was also a rarity in that he stayed two and a half miles but possessed a wicked turn of foot.

Courage Mon Ami

Having only his fourth lifetime start and stepping up in trip, John and Thady Gosden’s charge was settled near the back of the pack. Dettori took a risk and waited on the rail before sweeping through beaten horses and switching outside Coltrane’s withers. The aptly-named Courage Mon Ami showed plenty of grit to wear down that rival in a titanic battle through the final furlong, providing a ninth Gold Cup for the Italian. Frankie declared: “It’s 81 and every one is special. I’d be here all day talking about all of them, but the last Gold Cup was the biggest race of the week and to win that was amazing!”

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