‘You are able to enjoy it more when not riding the favourite because there is no pressure’: Frankie Dettori secures fifth Oaks win as the underdog
- Frankie Dettori won Investec Oaks for boss John Gosden with 8-1 shot Anapurna
- Rab Havlin retained the mount for Gosden’s 3-1 favourite Mehdaayih on Friday
- This meant the spotlight was not as intense on the Italian jockey at Epsom
Frankie Dettori relaxed and revelled in the role of second string as he landed the Investec Oaks for boss John Gosden with 8-1 shot Anapurna.
The 47-year-old, trainer Gosden’s No 1 jockey, rides some of the best horses on the Flat. But with colleague Rab Havlin retaining the mount on Gosden’s 3-1 favourite Mehdaayih, the spotlight on the Italian was not so intense.
While seventh-placed Mehdaayih was one of the chief sufferers in a rough race, Dettori and Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Anapurna ultimately got a dream run up the inside rail to beat Pink Dogwood by a neck.
Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Investec Oaks on Anapurna during Ladies Day
After returning on his fifth Oaks winner, 25 years after the first on Balanchine in 1994, Dettori said: ‘It was a great buzz. It has been 25 years since my first and not riding the favourite you are able to enjoy it more because there is no pressure. We knew we had a chance.’
The race was not without concern for Dettori. Around the three furlong pole, he was hunting for a gap as Ryan Moore made a dramatic and seemingly decisive move down the outside on Pink Dogwood.
Dettori said: ‘I tried to look for a gap and for a moment thought, “s***.” While I was still dealing with that Ryan and Jim Crowley (on eighth-placed Maqsad) kicked on the outside and I thought they were gone.
‘When I managed to get through I thought three lengths might be a bridge too far, but she started to motor and in the last 100 yards I had it.’
Anapurna ultimately got a dream run up the inside rail to beat Pink Dogwood by a neck
Dettori did pick up a two-day whip ban while Crowley was suspended for four days for careless riding, when one of the main sufferers was fourth-placed Manuela De Vega.
Things have not gone to plan this season for Gosden, who was landing his third Oaks. Injury has disrupted the training of big hope Too Darn Hot and dual Arc winner Enable’s seasonal return has been delayed until July.
But the trainer said: ‘You have to ride with the punches in this game. If you let those things affect you and get negative then you are no good to the staff or the horses.’
Anapurna was a first Classic victory as a stallion for the brilliant Frankel. And her win might be an omen as she was bred and is owned by the Meon Valley Stud, who have Telecaster running in Saturday’s Derby.