Ebor Festival: Frankie Dettori gets off to a flying start to prepare Golden Pal for York

FRANKIE Dettori flew to York by helicopter yesterday morning to partner his Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes mount Golden Pal in a gentle exercise on the Knavesmire.

frankie dettori is looking forward to this week's Ebor Festival.

Wesley Ward’s speedster was narrowly beaten at Royal Ascot last year, before winning in style at the Breeders’ Cup.

Dettori was at pains to keep a lid on Golden Pal as his Coolmore-owned mount has a tendency to want to get things done as a matter of haste, but with the ground expected to be in his favour, the Italian could not have been happier.

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“I spoke to Wesley a couple of weeks ago and he wanted me to come today to get a feel of the horse,” Dettori told Racing TV afterwards.

Frankie Dettori's big race wins at York include two renewals of the Yorkshire Oaks on Enable.

“We didn’t want to do too much today, just get acquainted with the straight course. He only has two speeds, slow and flat out, and I didn’t want to leave his race (behind) this morning.

“I was very pleased, he moved like a gazelle and the ground is actually beautiful, so it’s all systems go.

“I was watching the video of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year and the speed that he has is unbelievable, I’m really looking forward to it.

“The ground is good, and I expect by Friday it will be good to firm and that is what we need.”

With the first two big Flat meetings of the season at Ascot and Goodwood suffering mixed fortunes with the weather, conditions look set fair in Yorkshire.

“At the start of Ascot the ground was good, but by Friday and Saturday it was a disaster and then Goodwood went the same way. Fingers crossed it looks like being a great week,” Dettori added.

“I’ve had some amazing times here, five Juddmontes, the Enable stories in the Yorkshire Oaks – it’s great. The Yorkshire crowd are big racing fans, they get behind you and create a good atmosphere.”

Dettori and Ward do have a score to settle in the Nunthorpe, however. In 2017 Dettori raised his arm in celebration on crossing the line on Lady Aurelia, believing he had won when he had in fact been beaten by Marsha, with commentator Richard Hoiles saying: “Frankie punches the air – he’s sure, I’m not.”

“He was right!” rued Dettori. “It was terrible, so close and beaten by a nose – it left a sour taste in the mouth, but we’ll try again.”

Dettori will also be bidding for a third Lonsdale Cup on Stradivarius. “He knows his way around here, though, so I’m really looking forward to it,” added the 50-year-old.