The veteran 48-year-old’s run of success cost bookmakers millions and evoked memories of his greatest ever riding feat in 1996 when he completed his ‘magnificent seven’ at the same track.
And he received the Royal seal of approval when he received his Gold Cup prize from the Queen, chatting animatedly to Her Majesty – and bowing his head in acknowledgement – before accepting the rapturous cheers of the crowd.
Unbeaten last year, the John Gosden-trained Stradivarius, owned by Bjorn Nielsen, joins the greats to have successfully defended the two and a half mile championship race.
Momentarily short of racing room in the home straight, the champion streaked clear to thunderous applause from the Yorkshire challenger Dee Ex Bee – Mark Johnston’s stayer beat the outsider Master Of Reality in a photo-finish for second.
“What a horse, he got me out of trouble. He’s the horse for the big occasion and people love him,” enthused the jockey after recording his 66th career winner at the blue riband meeting.
“Stradivarius is an amazing horse. He is now unbeaten in his last seven starts. He has won two Ascot Gold Cups – his heart is bigger than his body. Stradivarius does not know how to lose. All I have to do is get him amongst other horses and he does the rest – what a horse.
“For a stayer, this lad has everything. He loves getting into a fight and he is a brilliant horse to ride. Everyone loves him, including me. I get nervous riding the horse because the people care about him so much. Every time he runs, he delivers, he is unbelievable.”
Dettori’s career has been rekindled in recent years by his association with Gosden, the reigning champion trainer and a longstanding father figure to the Italian-born jockey.
Gosden, who is content for his stable jockey to focus on the big days rather than the lesser meetings, ventured: “This 48-year-old kid takes this to another level, like a Wimbledon semi-final and final. He’s riding quite beautifully. He occasionally listens to me, but not too much.
“He was held in there by Capri, then he saw the light and Capri went for his run and Frankie managed to wriggle through and it was noted in commentary that he was in a rather tricky position. He did the clever thing he was drawn two and thought, ‘I will save ground all the way and wait for the gap’. It was a long wait, but the horse is very classy.”
Winning owner Bjorn Nielsen added: “He (Dettori) is riding so confidently and rode that horse confidently.
“He is a good stayer and has got a good heart. His mind is so relaxed. I hope he can continue for a while.”
Dettori’s dream day began as A’Ali won the opening Norfolk Stakes, denying Yorkshire challengers Ventura Rebel and Dubai Station from the yards of Richard Fahey and Karl Burke respectively.
He then streaked clear in the Hampton Court Stakes on Sir Michael Stoute’s Sangarius before bringing up his hat-trick on Gosden’s Star Catcher in the Ribblesdale Stakes.
After a breathtaking Gold Cup, Dettori was close to bringing up the five-timer on the frontrunning Turgenev before being caught in the closing stages by rank outsider Biometric with winning jockey Harry Bentley conceding he was probably the most unpopular man at Ascot.
Today Dettori rides Martyn Meade’s Advertise in the six furlong Commonwealth Cup – Hello Youmzain represents Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan – and then Twist ‘n’ Shake in the feature Coronation Stakes when she bids to deny Aidan O’Brien’s hot favourite Hermosa who has already won the English and Irish 1000 Guineas this season.