Frankie Dettori rolls back the years by guiding Inspiral to last-gasp victory in the Breeders’ Cup in California – as he hails his ‘brilliant’ horse after reversing his decision to retire

  • Frankie Dettori continued his winning streak with victory at the Breeders’ Cup 
  • He guided Inspiral to last-gap win after making a U-turn on his retirement plans 

Frankie Dettori has had enough Hollywood storylines this summer so it was only appropriate that, this time, the spotlight should shine on his leading lady.

The Italian has ridden many fantastic fillies, the best of which was Enable, but after what Inspiral did here last night, she must be making a play for his affections. With a startling change of gear and an inexorable run, the $2million Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf is now on her magnificent CV.

Dettori – as he has been for most of this season – was absolutely brilliant in the saddle. He is an emotional character but, in circumstances such as this, he has nerves of steel and never panicked when time looked like it might be running out.

It helped, though, that he had a partner with rare brilliance, too. Inspiral, owned and bred by Cheveley Park Stud, has inherited plenty of genes from her father – the fantastic Frankel – and how she showed them in the final furlongs around Santa Anita’s helter-skelter track.

Ryan Moore – another jockey at the peak of his powers – looked like he was on the cusp of landing the prize on Warm Hear, trained by Aidan O’Brien, but five yards before the post elation turned to devastation; Dettori flashed past, a blur of red, white and blue, waving his whip in delight.

Frankie Dettori guided Inspiral to victory in a last gasp win at the Breeders' Cup

Frankie Dettori guided Inspiral to victory in a last gasp win at the Breeders’ Cup 

The legendary jockey continued his superb form after reversing his decision to retire

The legendary jockey continued his superb form after reversing his decision to retire

‘This is my home!’ Dettori chirruped, as he made his way into the winners enclosure – and what a way this was to announce himself at the place where he will now be based for the foreseeable future. The locals love him and they roared when he jumped out of the saddle in jubilation.

But such is the esteem in which he holds Inspiral – who was the best female in the world aged two and three – Dettori will be eager to maintain this relationship; she will stay in training as a five-year-old, with John Gosden nominating York’s Juddmonte International as a prime target.

‘I knew I would be asked that question,’ Dettori said, when asked if this meant he would be riding at British courses next summer. ‘I’m here to stay… Look, she is a brilliant filly. She needs a quarter-of-a-mile to hit top gear and I thought it would be better not to try to go for any gaps up the inside.

‘She is never going to win any beauty contests but, my God, she can run. I love the Breeders Cup, it has been my making. I don’t think I have had a winner at this meeting since Enable (in 2018), so this makes it double sweet. When Inspiral hit the line, she was flying.’

Wasn’t she just? This was her sixth win at the highest Group One level but connections were having palpitations as the race unfolded; when the field swung for home and Inspiral had seven lengths to make up, anxiety levels went through the roof. 

Dettori said Inspiral was a 'brilliant filly' as he insisted he was 'here to stay' following his move to the US

Dettori said Inspiral was a ‘brilliant filly’ as he insisted he was ‘here to stay’ following his move to the US 

‘Yes, I was very concerned,’ said Richard Thompson, Cheveley Park’s Stud Director, said. ‘This is the pinnacle, to win here is everything we strive for and dream about.’

Those words characterise everything what these two days are about and Thompson’s smile was matched by Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby, whose Master Of The Seas beat his owner’s filly Mawj in the Breeders Cup Mile.

There would be no fantasy outcome, however, for connections of Live In The Dream. Trained by Adam West, he ran a brave race but couldn’t sustain his effort and finished fourth in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint.

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