Frankie Dettori admits Royal Ascot absence is ‘soul destroying’

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The popular Italian sustained an arm injury in a paddock fall at Yarmouth last Tuesday.

Frankie Dettori

Frankie Dettori admitted it was “soul destroying” to have to rule himself out of the entire Royal Ascot meeting due to an arm injury.

The popular Italian sustained the injury in a paddock fall at Yarmouth last Tuesday but had been fit enough to ride Shutter Speed in the French Oaks on Sunday.

However, Dettori reports the injury to still be troubling him and will seek further treatment, meaning he will miss all five days of the Royal meeting.

In a statement to Ascot racecourse, Dettori said: “I’ve been trying so hard to get fit for today but had to accept this morning it wasn’t going to happen.

“I’ve got to have physio and get it properly looked after so won’t be at Ascot this week. For me that’s soul destroying as it’s the most important week of the year. I’ll be counting the days until next year.”

Dettori had four rides booked on the opening day, including the well-fancied Lady Aurelia in the King’s Stand Stakes.

Lady Aurelia
Lady Aurelia ridden by jockey Frankie Dettori winning the Queen Mary Stakes during day two of Royal Ascot last year (David Davies/PA)


American trainer Wesley Ward, who planned to use Dettori on a several occasions over the course of the week, admitted it was a “big blow” to lose his services.

John Velazquez has been confirmed as Dettori’s replacement on Lady Aurelia and he will also team up with Nootka Sound in the Windsor Castle Stakes.

Velazquez’s original Windsor Castle ride Elizabeth Darcy will now be partnered by Edgar Prado.

Velazquez also takes over from Dettori aboard the Todd Pletcher-trained American Patriot in the curtain-raising Queen Anne Stakes this afternoon, while Pat Smullen comes in for the ride on Richard Hannon’s Denaar in the Coventry Stakes.


Pat Smullen
Pat Smullen gets a ride on Richard Hannon’s Denaar in the Coventry Stakes (David Davies/PA)

Ward said he hoped to free up Velazquez from American commitments to ride favourite McErin in Thursday’s Norfolk Stakes, but had not yet firmed up riding plans for his Friday runners, which are Commonwealth Cup hope Bound For Nowhere and Albany Stakes contenders Fairyland and Princess Peggy.

Dettori was also set for several high-profile mounts on Wednesday.

Jim Crowley has been booked to replace him aboard Ulysses in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, while Andrea Atzeni gets on board Daban in the Jersey Stakes.

Jim Crowley
Jim Crowley will be aboard Ulysses in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Mike Egerton/PA)

Atzeni’s original Jersey mount, Chessman, will now be ridden by Adam Kirby.

Olivier Peslier gets the leg up on Greta G in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, Smullen rides Present Tense in the Sandringham and Jamie Spencer rides El Vip in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Michael Bell revealed James Doyle will replace Dettori on Big Orange in the Gold Cup on Thursday.

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