John Gosden compared his brief falling-out with Frankie Dettori this year to a football manager benching a star player after trainer and jockey combined to win the £500,000 Ebor Handicap at York on Saturday, and Dettori’s memorable ride on Trawlerman was the rough equivalent of a solo run and strike by a centre-forward whose confidence is restored after a lean spell.
Dettori took a bold approach to Trawlerman’s wide draw in stall 20, galloping alone and in a clear lead towards the far rail as his 19 opponents sorted themselves out on the inside. He eventually edged across as they turned out of the back, but his carefully worked plan had apparently been to little avail as the well-fancied Earl Of Tyrone edged ahead two furlongs out with Alfred Boucher, a winner on Wednesday’s card, also gaining ground.
Alfred Boucher then seized what appeared to be a decisive advantage well inside the final furlong but Dettori galvanised Trawlerman for a final effort and the four-year-old hauled himself back into the lead in the final stride for a short-head success.
Dettori’s path to victory was reminiscent of that taken by Golden Horn, Trawlerman’s sire, in the 2015 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and completed a double for the rider after his success on Kinross in the Group Two City Of York Stakes.
“My colleagues gave me a little bit of rope,” Dettori said. “I managed to get him to relax and in the straight I thought I was beaten, but the grey horse [Alfred Boucher] came and kind of helped me.
“I thought I was just running out of runway and I might not get there but on the line, in fairness, he dug deep, put his head down and I thought: ‘Ah! Close!’”
Perhaps recalling his narrow defeat on Lady Aurelia in the 2017 Nunthorpe Stakes, when the rider celebrated victory only to be denied when the judge called Marsha the winner, Dettori remained impassive until the result was confirmed, but he had a short-head to spare at the line.
Gosden recalled Golden Horn’s victory in Paris afterwards and his Ebor win with Muntahaa in 2018, also from an outside draw. “When we went and walked the course before the Arc with GH, we saw how wide his draw was and Frankie said, ‘I’m just going to stay out there, I’m going to stay out there until the last moment,’” Gosden said.
“We did it here with Muntahaa and Jim Crowley, in fact, he thought I was mad but I said: ‘No, it’s a Baldrick plan that can work.’ And today, as soon as we saw the draw, I said, I know what we’re doing.”
With diplomatic relations between the trainer and his stable jockey now fully restored, Gosden also suggested that their initial falling-out after several setbacks at Royal Ascot in June had ultimately had a positive effect. “The only reason it ever happened is that I couldn’t get his attention,” Gosden said. “I couldn’t get him to concentrate, that’s all, and in the end, it required a bit of a public warning and that’s the way it is.
“What do you call it, ‘left on the bench’ if you’re a football manager? And he’s just ridden two fantastic races today, won the hugely valuable City of York Stakes and this, so when our man’s in the zone, he’s absolutely top class. When he’s not in the zone, he’s a menace.”
Dettori was able to ride a much more patient race on Kinross, sitting motionless as Art Power set the pace in the seven-furlong contest before sending him into the lead a furlong out.
“He was quite fragile as a young horse,” Ralph Beckett, the winner’s trainer, said. “He didn’t really come to maturity until he was gelded and everything started to work out from there.
“He was always going to win from halfway. I’d drop him back to six for the Haydock Park sprint if it came up soft but he’ll definitely go to the Forêt [at Longchamp in October].”
At the Curragh, Aidan O’Brien won the Group Two Futurity Stakes for the 15th time – one short of Vincent O’Brien’s record – as Aesop’s Fables showed an excellent turn of foot to run down his stable companion Hans Anderson and win by two and a quarter lengths.
The son of No Nay Never was cut to around 14-1 for the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket next spring, while Charlie Appleby’s Silver Knott, who cruised to victory in the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown, is a 20-1 shot for the first colts’ Classic.