Frankie Dettori’s final ride in a British Classic is likely to come in the St Leger, where he will head to Doncaster with a seemingly strong chance of
Frankie Dettori’s final ride in a British Classic is likely to come in the St Leger, where he will head to Doncaster with a seemingly strong chance of victory aboard Gregory.
Popular Italian jockey Dettori has confirmed this year will be his last in the saddle and he is determined to bow out in a blaze of glory with a string of big-race winners.
He has already won two Classics this season after Chaldean won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and Soul Sister won the Epsom Oaks – and a third looks to be within his grasp.
Gregory heads the ante-post St Leger market
Gregory is the general 5/2 favourite for the St Leger at Doncaster on September 16. The next St Leger contenders in the betting are priced at 7/1 and it is double-figure prices upwards for the rest. The odds on horse racing ante-post markets suggest Dettori has several opportunities for more Group One wins this season but victory in the St Leger would see him equal his tally of seven Oaks successes for the most wins he has achieved in a British Classic.
It was worth the wait! The biggest cheer of #RoyalAscot so far as @FrankieDettori and GREGORY fend them all off in the Queen’s Vase! A 7️⃣8️⃣th win at the Royal Meeting for Frankie 🏆 pic.twitter.com/FNTs5AkrCc
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) June 21, 2023
Dettori first won the St Leger aboard Classic Cliche in 1995 and his most recent victory came in 2019 on Logician, who, like Gregory, was trained by John Gosden. While there are differences between the two horses’ exploits on the track leading towards the St Leger, their profiles are very similar.
For starters, both horses are extremely well-bred. Logician’s dam, Scuffle, was a half-sister to the high-class duo Bated Breath and Cityscape, while Gregory’s dam, Gretchen, rounded off her short five-race career by winning the Group Two Park Hill Stakes over the course and distance of the St Leger. Their sires were also no slouches on the track either, with Logician’s dad being the superstar Frankel and Gregory’s dad being Golden Horn, who Dettori won the Epsom Derby on in 2015.
Both horses also did not race as two-year-olds either, Logician making his debut in May of his three-year-old career and Gregory starting off at the end of April. Following their first racecourse appearances, their trajectories towards Doncaster show some divergence.
Queen’s Vase a proven stepping stone to Doncaster
Logician followed up his debut win in a maiden by taking a novice race and then a Class 3 handicap before taking a huge step up to win the Group Two Great Voltigeur at York. In contrast, Gregory went from winning a novice on his debut to taking a Listed race at Goodwood before providing Dettori with his first winner of the 2023 Royal Ascot meeting in the Group Two Queen’s Vase.
Our final memory of the St Leger is last year’s winner Logician, trained by John Gosden & ridden by @FrankieDettori. Unraced in 2018 but in 2019 he established himself as a class performer. He won 5 out 5 which included the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York as well as the St Leger. pic.twitter.com/9FNPfJvtVN
— Doncaster Racecourse (@DoncasterRaces) September 5, 2020
That race has been a fruitful stepping stone to the St Leger in the past decade, with Leading Light, Kew Gardens and Eldar Eldarov winning both races and Harbour Law finishing runner-up in the Queen’s Vase before winning the Doncaster contest.
The way Gregory tenaciously dug in at Royal Ascot to beat Saint George before getting properly on top by the finishing line suggests it will be hard for any of those horses who finished behind him to reverse that form.
Before then, it would be no surprise if Gregory’s career path joins back up with Logician’s with a run in the Voltigeur at York in August. If he wins there, then he will head to Doncaster in search of a fifth straight victory and one that will be even more poignant for the retiring Dettori.