Dettori eclipses Hughes farewell

Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Qatar Stewards' Cup.
Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Qatar Stewards' Cup.
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Frankie Dettori’s season to remember got even better as Magical Memory provided the resurgent rider with a first victory in the Qatar Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood on a day when he sealed top rider of the week honours for the fifth time.

Sent off the 6-1 favourite, the Charlie Hills-trained three-year-old was officially 3lb ‘well in’ under his penalty for a win at Newmarket last month.

Drawn one, it needed both horse and jockey to be brave to take a gap which could so easily have closed on the far side, but take it they did and a smart turn of foot at the furlong pole sealed matters, becoming the first of his age to to win since Danetime in 1997.

Toofi was three-quarters of a length back in second, with Rivellino doing best of those that raced on the near side in third, another neck away.

Dettori said: “I’ve been waiting years for this, I’ve been beaten a few times, but what a horse, very brave. He’s on the up and Charlie did great to get me stall one. On that performance, he can be a Group horse.”

On his week, which saw him ride six winners to claim the Racing UK-sponsored leading jockey award, he said: “Goodwood can love you or hate you. I’ve had a lot of luck this week, you can come here and ride well and not get the gaps, but today I did.

“It’s been a great week, Qatar have put a lot of money in, we’ve had good weather and good crowds and it’s been a success all round.

“I started the year really well and it’s snowballed from there, I won the Derby and had a dream Royal Ascot. It’s just happening.”

Hills also feels Magical Memory can make the transition to Pattern company.

He said: “It’s incredible, I’m a little bit speechless to be honest. I thought it was a really good line-up, but Frankie gave him the most beautiful ride and had lots of confidence in him. We were lucky enough to keep him to ride today.”

Dettori had earlier teamed up with fellow Italian Marco Botti to guide Golden Steps to victory in the Qatar Stewards’ Sprint Stakes.

Richard Hughes, meanwhile, described himself as “relieved and overwhelmed” as the three-times champion jockey retired from the saddle to embark on a training career without a fairytale last-day winner at Goodwood.

Afforded a guard of honour by his weighing room colleagues before racing, Hughes had six rides on the final afternoon of a meeting that has been so kind to him over the years.

Having ridden his first winner in 1998, the long-time stalwart of the Richard Hannon yard had intended to bow out at the end of the season, but the demands of what will be needed in terms of training led to him bringing forward his decision.

Just denied by Dettori when riding Barnet Fair in the opener, the Hughes swansong came in the seven-furlong Qatar Stakes on Fox Trotter for Brian Meehan.

Typically given a patient ride at the rear of the field, the top-weight made rapid progress with two furlongs to run but could not quite get to the leaders and to settle for a close fourth, as Enlace took the spoils.

Hughes was led back into the enclosures to a hero’s reception.

After a career that spanned 27 years, Hughes, 42, leaves the saddle with 31 Royal Ascot winners, two British Classics, numerous other Group One successes and a reputation as one of the most stylish jockeys of his generation.

Hughes said: “I feel relieved. I didn’t have a winner, it wasn’t to be, but I am overwhelmed by the whole thing, it is absolutely brilliant. Going into the final race I thought ‘this is it’ and I enjoyed every minute of it.”