Frankie’s Fanfare, Part 13: Dettori Absurdly Good in York

August 27, 2023

Kinross becomes a Group 1 winner Oct. 2, 2022, at Longchamp, Frankie Dettori aboard (JTW Equine Images)

By Michaela Moricova

Ebor Festival in York is one of the most treasured feats throughout the British Flat season. In the past few days, Frankie Dettori made his last appearance there, and he was simply superb. Again. Shortly after he delivered a spectacular ride aboard Mohstadaf in the G1 Juddmonte International, he celebrated the final day of the Ebor Festival with two awesome rides. At first, he scored with his old pal Kinross in the G2 City of York Stakes and then masterfully piloted home Absurde in the Ebor Handicap.

King Kinross

In the City of York Stakes over seven furlongs, Frankie Dettori made the afternoon unforgettable for trainer Ralph Beckett. Not only his trainees bagged big prizes in Goodwood and Newmarket as Angel Bleu took the G2 Celebration Mile and Lezoo scored a Listed, but also KINROSS proved he just keeps giving. The six-year-old recorded his premiere victory in G2 in 2021, and in the last season, he climbed even higher among the elite, winning the G1 Prix de la Foret in Longchmap. He then added a G1 over six furlongs to his resume and third place in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. In 2023, he finished third in the G1 July Cup, and in August, he bagged two G2s. 

Kinross was partnered with Frankie in both the Lennox Stakes and City of York Stakes and the son of Kingman ran like a true champ he is again. Settling in the midfield, the jockey then sent him to the middle of the track, where Kinross smoothly joined the leading horses. Although Audience (Havlin) and Sandrine (Murphy) fought bravely, Kinross fulfilled the role of the favorite offered at 9/4. He crossed the wire in 1m 22.57s by ¾ of a length.

While Frankie Dettori achieved his fifth victory in the City of York Stakes, it was the second one for Kinross; still, he is the only horse to win this race for a second consecutive year. As the jockey said to the Racing Post, he looks forward to partnering with Kinross in Ascot, France, and Hong Kong.

“It’s the last day here today, although I’m still waiting for the bigger offer, and the phone is silent!” Dettori joked. “What a horse he is. He’s my favorite at the moment. I had the Strad [Stradivarius], then Enable before him, and he’s a superstar. I love him.” 

Absurd and Awesome Ebor Handicap

One of the oldest handicap races in the United Kingdom is run over a mile and six furlongs and is often targeted even by trainers who specialize in Jump races. Irish magician Willie Mullins is no different, as his horse scored it back in 2009, while in 2023, he relied mostly on five-year-old ABSURDE offered at 7/1. However, the smart stayer started off from the outside gate, from where it seemed impossible to score. Frankie Dettori, of course, didn’t give up before the race, even after he had to walk Absurde to the post. Subsequently, he let the gelding galloped behind just one rival as the rest of the field grouped at the fence. The pair then joined them, with the Willie Mullins-trained soon-to-be-a-jumper running on the outside.

Nothing of this stopped Absurde, though. In the final stretch, he looked great, yet he might’ve gotten to the front too early. At one point, Sweet William (Havlin) snatched the lead and seemed like the favorite was about to deliver, but Absurde found something more left in the tank. In the last few strides, he headed Sweet William and triumphed in 2m 56.41s. Sweet William had to settle for second by half a length, with Live Your Dream (Murphy) in third. Notice that the jockeys from the City of York Stakes took the same places as in the Ebor Handicap. 

After such a brilliant ride, Absurde is considered for the Melbourne Cup that Frankie hasn’t won. Still, Willie Mullins has another promising stayer for the feat in the G1 winning hurdler, Vauban.

“I felt sentimental; I can’t explain it. I thought if I could ride one more winner at the Ebor meeting, it would be great. I thought Kinross was my banker because he doesn’t know how to run a bad race, and I was drawn 24 in the Ebor. I thought it was impossible, but I pulled it off, and full credit to the horse and trainer. It just worked out, what can I say?” said Dettori for Racing Post.

“I got to the last 100 yards and saw Rab coming,” he said. “I thought I’d been beaten. Full credit to Absurde. He showed some guts and stuck his neck out. He needs cover, and I was in front at the three pole – I thought I’d messed it up.”

The last afternoon of this year’s Ebor Festival didn’t go easy on Frankie for sure, yet the champ once again withstood the pressure and ruled them all. Especially Rab Havlin and Oisin Murphy who had to settle for second and third places respectively twice in a row.

Our One on One with Frankie Dettori:

@PastTheWire @jonathanstettin if you ever want to share HOW you consistently pick winners that win by 6, and still get 7/2, let me know!

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