The brilliant Frankie Dettori has a special affinity with Royal Ascot. He arrived at the 2023 meeting with 77 winners under his belt and was fully expected to pass the 80 mark before the event came to a close. Sadly, Dettori announced his retirement plans at the end of last year, so this Royal Ascot will be his last. He’ll be aiming for plenty of success across the five days, but victory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes would provide the best possible finale.
Frankie Targets a Fabulous Farewell
All Frankie Dettori wins will be welcomed by the betting public. He’s a firm favourite, especially among the casual punters who only tend to focus on the big events. Dettori is set to be on board Stratum in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. This is the final race of the meeting, and victory here would provide a perfect script. Initial Ascot odds make Stratum the 3/1 favourite, followed by Vauban and Dawn Rising at 5/1.
Anyone looking to get behind this horse can monitor Royal Ascot results over the first four days, but this is a runner with a great pedigree at this meeting. Stratum has won each of the previous two editions of the Queen Alexandra Stakes, and a hat trick would mark a brilliant achievement as he reaches the end of his own career.
The markets list two joint favourites behind the market leader. Vauban has been listed at a steady 5/1 for some time, while Dawn Rising has shortened to those odds in recent days. Trained by Willie Mullins, Vauban has already claimed a win at Royal Ascot 2023. A short-priced favourite, he romped home with jockey Ryan Moore in the Copper Horse Handicap on Tuesday.
Mullins has bold plans for the horse and intends to enter him in the Melbourne Cup at some stage. He will manage the 5-year-old’s workload, so there may be a slight possibility that Vauban could be withdrawn from the Queen Alexandra Stakes. That win at Punchestown was Vauban’s first of the season. In total, this horse has won three of his eight races and has finished inside the top three on seven occasions.
Dawn Rising ended 2022 with two wins, but his form since the start of the year has been less encouraging. In three runs, he finished third on two occasions and was Pulled Up at Cheltenham in March.
Stratum’s closest challengers don’t have dominant overall records, but neither does Frankie’s ride. In 27 outings on the flat, Stratum has won just seven. The issue is that we can’t ignore his remarkable record in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. But could sentiment get in the way here?
As reported by The Guardian, having announced his retirement, there would be no better way for Frankie Dettori to end his Royal Ascot career. Victory in the final race would be a perfect sign-off, while Stratum completes an incredible hat trick.
The script has been written, but don’t ignore Vauban who is a much younger horse, and looks set for a more productive career moving forward.