Frankie Dettori registered his 500th winner at Newmarket in steering star filly Inspiral to victory in the Virgin Bet Sun Chariot Stakes.
The duo had combined to record a thrilling success in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville in the summer and followed that up to add a fifth Group One triumph in this Rowley Mile feature.
Settled in mid-division travelling nicely alongside French challenger Mqse De Sevigne, the John and Thady Gosden-trained Inspiral made a stylish move to the inner with three furlongs to run and soon made her way home.
Heading into the dip she had built up a three-length advantage and there was no stopping the 10-11 favourite as she surged clear and entered the record books in ultra-impressive style. Andre Fabre’s Mqse De Sevigne was three and three-quarter lengths away in second at the line, with the supplemented Heredia in third.
Dettori – who retires at the end of the year – said: “We knew the pace wasn’t going to be that strong and she wants a much stronger tempo. She has got a crescendo of three furlongs and I didn’t want to mess around so I thought ‘come on let’s go and let them come and try to catch you’. She has strode out really well. She is a super filly when she is on-song and today she was.
“She showed the world today what a superstar horse she is. She gave me a nightmare ride in France, but today she was good. I was quite worried when she was so quiet as when they are quiet it is maybe because they are over the top or maybe they are in season, but that wasn’t the case. She was quiet because she was having a good day.
“When I got to 499 last week I thought at least I’ve got Inspiral to look forward to as I know she will be thereabouts. I didn’t know until last week when Amy Starkey (of the Jockey Club) told me I was so close. It (Newmarket) has been my home for 38 years. It is fantastic to be able to do it (ride 500 winners at Newmarket) in a Group One on a special filly. I couldn’t have written a better ending.”
Reflecting further, he said: “My first big one here was on Didicoy for Jeremy Tree and Khalid Abdullah in the Coral Bookmakers Handicap. I was only a teenager, but that for me then was like winning the Derby. All my Guineas winners are special.
“My last Guineas winner, Chaldean, I knew I had a chance but I didn’t expect it and that was probably the sweetest one I had.
“I woke up this morning with a knot in my stomach. I didn’t feel myself. I felt nervous, sad and emotional, but at least I’ve got it done now. I’ve got two weeks left. It is getting close and I’m getting so many best wishes, but I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t like this.
“At Longchamp they (crowd) were amazing, York they were amazing. Everywhere I’ve been they have been incredible, and I don’t think it will be any different on my last day at Ascot (Champions Day). I’m allowed to cry that day, but I’ve tried to keep it together today.”
Paying his tribute to his long-time friend, Gosden senior said: “It is lovely. What a way to do it in a Group One. He is an absolute icon. He is wonderful and he has been great over the years to work with and continues to be so. I’m sure I’ll be running some horses in California (Breeders’ Cup) for him.
“He is great working with in the mornings and not all jockeys are like that. He is a great judge in the mornings on his work and I will miss him there as much as racing in the afternoon strangely. I would have thought when he retires he fully retires.
“He is doing it cleverly. He is not just stopping bold. He is doing it the right way. He is bringing it down gently. He will be riding in Japan, Hong Kong, California and in the Middle East in the winter. Where there are big races he will pop up. I don’t know that (if he was to carry on riding in Britain after this year), but it would be a huge thing.”