Little over 24 hours after his final ride in a British Classic, Frankie Dettori will be in big-race action at Bro Park as the next leg of his farewell tour takes him to Sweden.
The Italian, who is set to retire at the end of the year, is no stranger to racing in Scandinavia and looks to continue the hot streak of British-based riders in the feature Stockholm Cup International – a race won by Pat Cosgrave the last three years and by Dettori’s great friend Rab Havlin (2019) and Fran Berry (2018) before that.
Officials in Sweden are delighted to have the 52-year-old stopping off in Stockholm during his final season in the saddle and have already seen the ‘Dettori factor’ increase media interest in Bro Park’s key afternoon of racing.
“We are obviously happy that Frankie Dettori is coming over and that Sweden and Bro Park is a part of his farewell tour. It is a big thing for a small country like Sweden,” said Dennis Madsen, Head of Racing at the Swedish Racing Authority, Svensk Galopp.
“He has been here before and rode in the Stockholm Cup in 1996 on a Godolphin horse and visited the old Taby Park again about 10 years ago. So we are familiar with Frankie, but it is still a big thing and we have been delighted to be able to use him in the promotion of this raceday.
“He has already boosted the coverage in the media. Frankie is a big name in other countries and although racing is not a big sport in Sweden, he has managed to capture good media coverage over here and we are very excited for him coming.”
Dettori has secured the mount of defending Stockholm Cup International champion Hard One To Please and the four-year-old, who won the Swedish Derby in 2021, returns to Bro Park on the back of an easy victory in a Norwegian Group Three last time.
Despite happy with the condition of her charge heading into the contest, trainer Annike Bye Hansen admitted she is extremely nervous leading up to the big occasion.
She said: “I’m not really looking forward to it to be honest, I will be relieved when it is over. That is me, I get very nervous, I always get like this coming up to big racedays like this.
“I’m very happy with the horse and he looks ready to rock and roll, so it’s game on.
“The race is not a walk in the park, the French horse is good and Ayani won the Swedish Derby and we don’t know how good he is.
“We won it last year, but last year it was weaker. But saying that I think Hard One To Please has improved from last year as well.”
Dettori tasted glory when riding in Hungary earlier this month, but if he is to add another global prize to his CV then Hard One To Please will have to see off a strong cast which includes Christophe Ferland’s French challenger Big Call and British raider Outbox, who will be partnered by Hollie Doyle.
Archie Watson’s eight-year-old is a regular visitor to Bro Park and as well as going down by a nose to Hard One To Please in the Stockholm Cup International 12 months ago, also picked up the silver medal in 2021.
“He was beaten by a very good horse two years ago and was then narrowly beaten last year by a horse who runs against him again on Sunday, so the owners are looking forward to another bold show,” said Cosmo Charlton, head racing manager for owners Hambleton Racing.
“It’s an exciting trip over and we’ve had successful raids over there in the past. We’ve got some owners going out and we’re always very well looked after.
“Outbox is a horse who owes us nothing, we paid 16,000 guineas for him and he’s earnt I think over £600,000 in prize-money for us.
“He’s an old horse now but was a really good second at Newmarket earlier the season proving he retains plenty of his old ability. A reproduction of that type of form would see him go close I would have thought.”
Hambleton Racing recorded a double at Bro Park on this card in 2022 and will also be represented in the Bro Park Sprint Championship by Kevin Ryan’s Washington Heights as the operation attempts to replicate that success.