The evergreen Frankie Dettori currently sits top of the tree when it comes to success in Britain’s final Classic, the Pertemps St Leger.
The Italian’s six career victories in the Doncaster showpiece stretch back a quarter of a century; his first victory coming when John Major was Prime Minister!
A then 24-year-old Dettori tracked the pace throughout the race before moving into the lead four furlongs from the finish. Classic Cliche quickly went clear of the field and won by three and a half lengths from his nearest rival Minds Music. The winner would go on to prove himself a top-class stayer; winning the following year’s Gold Cup with Dettori on board at Royal Ascot.
The St Leger win gave Dettori the 1,000th winner of his career; the landmark being hit just eight years after his first win in Britain. 1995 was also a good year for Frankie as not only did he win the St Leger, but he also became Champion Jockey for the second time.
Frankie said in a recent interview that the 1996 St Leger with Shantou was his favourite; it was also a first British Classic win for John Gosden,
Shantou was an absolute warrior and showed a real willingness to win as he went past Dushyantor, prevailing by a neck. The win was celebrated in the traditional fashion of a flying dismount and it played a major role in cementing Gosden amongst the British training elite.
A then rare big race win for Dettori in the navy blue silks of Coolmore; the Italian was at his best to drive home the mercurial Scorpion to win by a length in the driving rain.
Dettori had in fact turned down the chance to ride Epsom Derby winner Motivator in the Irish Champion Stakes due to a timing clash between the two big races. The decision was well rewarded as he brought up his 10th career British Classic win.
One of Dettori’s most straightforward Classic wins; Sixties Icon won the 2006 St Leger by two and half lengths in a dominant performance.
Trained by regular ally Jeremy Noseda; Sixties Icon proved to be a very fruitful partner for Dettori, the pair winning a further four times together.
Frankie Dettori guided Conduit to victory by three lengths from Unsung Heroine to end Sir Michael Stoute’s St Leger hoodoo – the legendary trainer finally winning the race at the 26th attempt.
After the victory, Frankie screamed “Yeah, I told you, I told you,” in the Parade Ring at Sir Michael before dismounting and saying, “Lester Piggott, Walter Swinburn, Steve Cauthen, Ryan Moore, I was the last name in the book and the first to do it.”
Frankie then turned to Stoute and asked, “Can we hug?”. The trainer replied “I don’t want to do it in public, I’m not Italian,” but that didn’t stop Dettori!
Logician stretched his unbeaten record to five and gave Frankie Dettori his sixth winner in the St Leger as well as giving trainer John Gosden his fifth victory in the race.
The powerful grey moved passed the field on the stand-side with super speed in the final furlongs. The 5/6 favourite ended up winning the race by two and a quarter length.