The Epsom Derby is just around the corner and a rampant Frankie Dettori, fresh off a leading jockey success at Royal Ascot, has his sights firmly set on further glory. He’ll be getting the “Box Office” ride on current favourite English King, who landed the Lingfield Derby Trial in a very strong time with Tom Marquand aboard to cement his place at the top of the market.
Twice a Derby winner, Dettori replaced a high-flying Tom Marquand in a tough, but necessary, decision by trainer Ed Walker and owner Bjorn Nielsen, with both hunting for their first success in the Epsom Classic. It’d be quite the day for Walker, given that this is also his first runner in the contest.
Frankie’s Productive Morning
In a piece of work on Wednesday morning, Frankie was extremely positive about his prospective mount, saying: “It all went well this morning and it was nice to sit on him for the first time. I found him to be really nice and I’m very happy with the ride. It was all very positive“.
First tasting Derby success with Authorised in 2007 and latterly Golden Horn in 2015, Dettori knows what a Derby horse needs and his comments will be a boost to his backers, continuing on to say: “He was very good, did everything we asked of him and Bjorn was there to see us. He’s a bit of a playful horse but nothing you can’t manage. It’s all systems go.”
In-Form Dettori “Looking Forward” To Derby
Dettori rode a treble on the final day of Royal Ascot to steal away the Jockeys’ Title and the in-form Italian is clearly raring for further success, as he added: “There’s ten days to the Derby but I’m looking forward to it and have my fingers crossed“.
One of Dettori’s Royal Ascot winners was aboard the Bjorn Nielsen trained Stradivarius and in a socially distanced fashion, trainer, jockey and owner had a reminisce the night before about the impressive success: “Frankie came down last night and had dinner with Bjorn and I, which was fun. We spoke about Stradivarius for about three hours and English King for five minutes!“.
“Professional” Dettori Covering All Avenues
There was time to discuss the matters at hand, however, with trainer Ed Walker giving a fascinating insight into why Dettori wanted to get his eye in on the Derby contender: “Frankie has such a wealth of experience and loved the horse. He’s not one you expect to see blast clear of his lead horse in Frankel-Bullet Train style and only does what he has to. Frankie wanted to get a feel for him and rode him from his stable back to his stable, which is quite rare for a jockey to do when they come in“.
He continued to say: “He really wanted to get inside the horse’s head and understand him and it’s a mark of Frankie’s professionalism“. A general 11/4 shot for the first third English Classic of the campaign, it’s all systems go for a partnership that is running high on success.
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