Bin Suroor recalls ‘great moment’

No one with the remotest link to racing will ever forget the momentous happenings on the Saturday afternoon at Ascot 20 years ago as Frankie Dettori cast a magical spell over the famous old racecourse with his 'Magnificent Seven'.

Frankie Dettori kisses Mark of Esteem

No one with the remotest link to racing will ever forget the momentous happenings on the Saturday afternoon at Ascot 20 years ago as Frankie Dettori cast a magical spell over the famous old racecourse with his 'Magnificent Seven'.

Certainly not the trainers. "One of the great moments" is the view of Saeed bin Suroor, who was responsible four of the seven winners as Dettori rattled through the card.

"A huge day" remembered John Gosden, while "wonderful for racing" is Sir Michael Stoute's view.

Ian Balding was involved, too – "for the first and only time I almost felt sorry for the bookies!"

Wall Street, Diffident and Mark Of Esteem in the feature Queen Elizabeth II Stakes were got the ball rolling in the first three races and all were trained by Bin Suroor, before attention switched to the Gosden-trained Decorated Hero.

Next up was another Bin Suroor runner, Fatefully, before Balding got in on the act with Lochangel.

The history-making moment was left to Stoute's Fujiyama Crest in the last, and try as Pat Eddery might on runner-up Northern Fleet, he could not get there and pandemonium broke out as Dettori and his partner hung on by a neck.

Bin Suroor said: "It was a great time when Frankie won seven races on that day.

"We were so happy for him and we were also happy for ourselves with our horses.

"It was one of the great moments. We had four winners, so it was a very good result.

"I worked with him for 18 years and he is the best jockey in the world by far. He is brilliant for racing, everyone loves him and what he does when he jumps off a horse after a race. He is so great for the sport.

"Those 20 years have gone too fast, but those seven winners for Frankie will stay in the history books forever.

"In the big race he rode Mark Of Esteem and was confident he could win the race.

"It is very rare to find a jockey like him."

Gosden, a staunch ally of Dettori's through thick and thin since the Italian arrived in Britain as a teenager, has a similar recollection.

"It was a huge day. There was a tremendous atmosphere and it lifted the lid off the grandstand," he said.

"He was truly magnificent. They were not all certain winners – he was nearly picking them up and putting them over the line.

"It was very special day and it was great to be there. He certainly took his riding to another level that day.

"It was superb. Everyone in every betting shop in the country was tuned in. It was atmosphere of the likes you won't see again.

"It was a bit like Mo Farah winning the 5,000 and 10,000 metres. It was just wonderful and in that kind of league."

He added of Decorated Hero's race: "We were badly drawn, so Frankie said, 'I'll sort that out', and he crossed the whole track to get the better line of ground.

"He won well with a lot of weight. He was a horse we were all very fond of, we loved him."

Balding remembers Dettori very much did it his way on the day.

"I think I recall telling Frankie beforehand not to expect her to make the running," he said.

"Of course, Frankie had his own ideas and she proceeded to make every yard!

"She obviously turned out to be a very good filly and went on to win a Nunthorpe.

"I think we were the sixth leg, so there was a little bit of pressure on.

"Thankfully everything went right and I don't think there was any doubt he was going to win the last.

"For the first and only time I almost felt sorry for the bookies!"

Stoute has seen pretty much everything in his glittering career and felt a Dettori at the peak of his powers was never going to be beaten on Fujiyama Crest – not even with the late, great Eddery chasing him down.

He said: "It would have been the first race he wouldn't have won and I think it was just Frankie's adrenalin that got him home.

"I think one or two cheeky people suggested that Pat didn't spoil the party – Pat knocked spots off us, he was trying all right.

"He was a very honest, tough horse, but he needed a lot of driving and he got him home.

"When I took the saddle from Frankie (in the paddock) he said, 'If I get beat it's not my fault as I'm red hot!'.

"It was wonderful for racing."

Read More at Sporting Life

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