LONDON: Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori is hoping to continue this season’s glorious swan song in one of the world’s biggest races on Saturday when he saddles up on board Saudi Arabia-owned Arrest.
It will be the Italian icon’s final run in the Derby at Epsom Downs and he will be hoping to make it a hat trick of victories in the famous old race, having won aboard Authorized in 2007 and Golden Horn in 2015.
Arrest, owned by Juddmonte and trained in Newmarket by John and Thady Gosden, landed two wins in 2022 at Sandown and Ffos Las and comes into the Derby in good form having scored a victory in the Group Three Chester Vase last month.
The colt, by Juddmonte’s world-renowned sire Frankel, will be in good company at the two-day Derby festival, which got underway on Friday, with Soul Sister, Military Order, Hurricane Lane and Westover also representing the retired champion across the weekend.
The win at Chester was a reward for the confidence shown by Arrest’s trainers, the Gosdens, and they have high hopes for him in the Derby.
“John and Thady have held him in high regard since last year. While we were a little nervous of all the rain that fell on Chester that morning, we were still hopeful of a very big run,” Barry Mahon, Juddmonte’s general manager of Irish and European racing, said in comments to Great British Racing International for Arab News.
“The race went far from ideal with no pace early on and Arrest getting caught a little wide, but in the end his class shone through and he powered away for an easy victory.
“This year seems to be a very open renewal of the Epsom Derby and being a son of Frankel, we know he will give his all (on Saturday) and we’re hopeful of a good run,” he added.
Gosden believes Arrest has the staying power to beat the field, having proved his mettle in his Chester victory.
“This horse can change gears, absolutely. He’s a big boy and he proved he stayed the other day (in the Chester Vase) when he handled the conditions. He doesn’t need it to be like that,” John told the Jockey Club. “He’s got the stamina; to do what he did at Chester in ground like that shows he’s got the stamina, no problem.”
He added: “Stamina is a requirement in this race, the same for the Kentucky Derby going a mile and a quarter for the Americans, they see it as a marathon. Stamina wise you never really know until you go the mile and a half, you really don’t.
“Everybody thinks this is a downhill track, but it’s uphill, it rises 150 feet before you start going downhill, then you have a last section which climbs before the finish and it can catch a lot out on stamina.”
A win in the Derby would be monumental for Juddmonte and Frankel, as well as Arrest’s future after racing, Mahon said.
“The Epsom Derby is still one of the most important, iconic thoroughbred flat races in the world. History tells us that colts who have won (the race) have gone on to shape the breed as stallions,” he said.
“The fact that it is one of the most iconic races in the world makes it very significant that Frankel would add a second victory in the race.
“He is progressing to be an outstanding stallion at present with a number of runners in the Oaks and Derby as well as siring this year’s English 2000 Guineas winner, so hopefully he will be able to build on his tally in the coming seasons,” Mahon added.
Following the passing of owner and founder Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Saud in 2021, his family have continued his work and passion for racing, with his son Prince Saud bin Khalid in attendance at Newmarket when Juddmonte’s Chaldean won the 2000 Guineas on May 6.
Mahon believes the future of the operation is in good hands and hopes to give Prince Saud another winner this year, especially if he makes the journey to England.
“It will be wonderful to welcome Prince Saud to Epsom over the weekend. He has been racing numerous times this year and is really enjoying how the season is going,” he said.
“Prince Saud and his family are very dedicated to Juddmonte and the wider thoroughbred industry and hopefully we can provide them with more success as the season continues,” he added.
Speaking to the Jockey Club, Dettori was hopeful of glory in his final Derby run, saying: “I have been fortunate enough to win the Derby twice and it is still the most famous race in the world for us.”
He added: “When I started my career as a jockey, first of all you want to get a ride in it and then try to win it. I’ve had over 20 rides in it and this is my last go. At least I am going into my last Derby with a great chance.”