First race: The Norfolk Stakes

FRANKIE CLOSING IN ON 50

baitha Frankie Dettori was in joyous mood after winning the Group Two Norfolk Stakes on Baitha Alga, his 49th success at Royal Ascot.

“I’m nearly there!” exclaimed Dettori. “I really like this horse, but I was worried because I’d heard Aidan O’Brien’s horse [unplaced 5/6 favourite The Great War] was the best in his yard and there was the American filly [To Be Determined] to worry about, but I knew they all had me to beat.

“It was a great performance to win like he did at Epsom, he’s hard as nails and uncomplicated – everything you want in a two-year-old. I just had to do the right thing, get into the race and use his turn of foot.

“He can lead if he wants, but I knew that if I joined the mix he could burn himself out – when I pressed the button he just went. His attitude is fantastic which makes such a big difference.

“A 50 on Ladies’ Day would be fantastic – I would love it!”

 Jockeys on the going after race one

 Frankie Dettori, who rode winner Baitha Alga, and Paul Hanagan, said: “It’s good to firm.”

Jamie Spencer said: “It’s nice ground – you know there’s water on it.”

Tom Queally said: “It’s good to firm, watered ground.”

US jockey Victor Espinoza said: “The turf is nice, but unfortunately my horse didn’t want to know today. She’s a little tired and behind the gate, but the ground is beautiful and the horses love it. The turf here is amazing.”

 HANNON IMPRESSED WITH ALGA RHYTHM

 Trainer Richard Hannon was visibly delighted after Baitha Alga produced a devastating turn of foot to land the Group Two Norfolk Stakes by a length and half at Royal Ascot this afternoon.

The 8/1 shot, who was giving Frankie Dettori his 49th winner at the Royal Meeting, was always travelling sweetly under the flamboyant Italian and the result was instant when his jockey asked him for his effort just over a furlong out.

The David Brown-trained Mind Of Madness eventually finished second with Ahlan Emarati a further two and a quarter lengths back in third.

Hannon rates him as ‘the best two-year-old I’ve seen this season’ and hopes that the juvenile will go on and contest the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville on his next start.

“This isn’t a race we, as a firm, have had a great amount of success in but I knew this one was smart,” said Hannon.

“He was having his third run in two weeks but this horse can handle it. He came back from the Woodcote (at Epsom) in tip-top shape and didn’t lose any weight at all.

“He was very impressive. I saw Frankie sitting in behind, pull him out and he never really looked like getting beaten. He is a very smart two-year-old and we might have a look at the Prix Morny after this. To have an impressive Ascot winner like that is really nice.”

Harry Herbert, racing manager to Al Shaqab Racing, was looking to the future after Baitha Alga gave Al Shaqab their second juvenile winner of the week following The Wow Signal’s victory in the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday.

“It’s not often the Woodcote winner comes out so quickly to win at Royal Ascot but this horse is special and is very tough,” said Herbert.

“He’s clearly very smart. Frankie has given him a wonderful ride and to see him sitting there with so much confidence a furlong from home was a great sight.

“Obviously The Wow Signal was impressive too on Tuesday so we’ll let the dust settle and see where they go next. They’re both tough two-year-olds and it’s very exciting.”

SECOND THE SECOND TIME

 Mind Of Madness ran for the second time at Royal Ascot 2014 in the Group Two Norfolk Stakes after finishing well beaten when 15th in Tuesday’s Windsor Castle Stakes, also over five furlongs.

The two-year-old Azamour colt performed much better today under Ryan Moore, finishing second, a length and a half behind Baitha Alga.

Trainer David Brown said: “Ryan said he is a really nice horse and they went fast early on and for a few strides Mind Of Madness found it hard but once he picked the bridle up he was good. We can go for races like the July Stakes, which might come too soon, but maybe the Richmond or even the Gimcrack. I think he will want six furlongs. The Molecomb will probably be too fast.

“I have tried hard to envisage what happened the other day. I think I know the answer. We took him racing twice – to Newmarket and he went three hours before and had a brush-off. It was exactly the same the second time. He is such a kind little horse, you would put on anybody to ride as he is bombproof.

“But on Tuesday Jamie (Spencer) said he was keen going to post and would not settle. The only thing I can put my finger on is that we brought him the night before, thinking that would make it easy for him, rather than being stood in traffic. He got here and thought it was race time and he got himself revved up.

“In trying to give him an easy day, we probably made it hard for him. I led him out yesterday morning and he was a bit more settled but not enough. He has eaten up, not lost any weight and everything seemed in good order.

“I took him out this morning and he had a nice hack out and was just like he was at home. So he is now thinking Ascot is his home. So I have run him. Maybe we should run him just in today’s Norfolk Stakes and he might have given the winner as bit more to do.

“I am sure he can win a big race. He is a very good colt.”

 

ROYAL PROCESSION

Regrettably, due to a family health issue, Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani and Sheikha Amna bin Mohammed Al-Thani were unable to attend Royal Ascot today and therefore did not participate in the Royal Procession.

First race result

 2.30pm Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)

£80,000 total prize fund. For 2yo, 5f. Weights: colts and geldings 9st 1lb; fillies 8st 12lb. Penalty value 1st £45,368.00 2nd £17,200.00 3rd £8,608.00 4th £4,288.00 5th £2,152.00 6th £1,080.00

1) BAITHA ALGA (IRE) (Al Shaqab Racing) Richard Hannon 2-9-01 Frankie Dettori [7] 8/1

2) MIND OF MADNESS (IRE) (Qatar Racing Limited) David Brown 2-9-01 Ryan Moore [9] 14/1

3) AHLAN EMARATI (IRE) (Ahmad Abdulla Al Shaikh) Peter Chapple-Hyam 2-9-01 Jamie Spencer [4] 25/1

4) SNAP SHOTS (IRE) (True Reds) Tom Dascombe 2-9-01 Richard Kingscote [5]

5) THE GREAT WAR (USA) (Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Joe Allen) Aidan O’Brien IRE t2-9-1 Joseph O’Brien [1] 5/6f

6) MUKHMAL (IRE) (Hamdan Al Maktoum) Mark Johnston 2-9-01 Paul Hanagan [8]

7) FINE PRINCE (IRE) (Robert Mills) Robert Mills 2-9-01 Tom Queally [2]

8) MIGNOLINO (IRE) (R Toes) David Barron b2-9-01 Graham Gibbons [6]

9) TO BE DETERMINED (USA) (Ten Broeck Farm) Wesley Ward USA bt2-8-12 Victor Espinoza [3]

9 ran

Time: 59.81

Distances: 1½, 2¼, ¾, 2, 1¼, ½, 1¼, 6

Breeder: Theresa Killen

Breeding: b c Fast Company (IRE) – Tawaafur (Fantastic Light (USA))

Tote      Win £7.20          Place  £1.80 £2.40 £3.50            Exacta £92.20

 

Winning trainer:-Name: Richard Hannon Born: November 21, 1975 Date Of first licence: January 1, 2014 Background: Son of four-time British champion trainer Richard Hannon snr. Had a spell working at leading studs and stables in Australia before spending 12 years as assistant to his father. First winner: Unscripted, Wolverhampton, January 3, 2014 British Classic wins (1): 2000 Guineas (2014 Night Of Thunder) Royal Ascot wins (2): Norfolk Stakes (2014 Baitha Alga), Queen Anne Stakes (2014 Toronado) Wins this year: 84

 

Winning jockey:-Name: Dettori, Lanfranco. Born: 15/12/70 in Milan, Italy Background: Son of dual English 2000 Guineas winning jockey Gianfranco, “Frankie” also came to Britain early in his career to become apprentice for Luca Cumani in July 1985. In 1990, he became the first teenager to ride 100 winners since Lester Piggott. Appointed number one jockey for brand new Godolphin stable in the winter of 1993/94. Champion jockey for the first time in 1994 with 223 winners, retaining his title the following year with 216 victories. Became the first jockey to win all seven races on a card on September 28, 1996, at Ascot. Narrowly escaped death when his plane crashed shortly after take off at Newmarket racecourse in June 2000. He received an honorary MBE on December 29, 2000, and became champion jockey for a third time in 2004 with 195 victories. Parted company with Godolphin in October 2012 and on December 5, 2012, he was suspended from riding for six months after being found guilty of taking a prohibited substance. Briefly rode freelance before being retained by leading owner Sheikh Joann Al Thani (now Al Shaqab Racing) in July 2013.  First winner: Rif (Turin, Italy, November 16, 1986), First British winner: Lizzy Hare (Goodwood June 9, 1987) Other Achievements: Received Bill Shoemaker Award for outstanding performance by a jockey at 2006 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs British Classic wins; (14) Investec Derby (2007 Authorized), Investec Oaks (1994 Balanchine, 1995 Moonshell, 2002 Kazzia); Ladbrokes St Leger (1995 Classic Cliche, 1996 Shantou, 2005 Scorpion, 2006 Sixties Icon, 2008 Conduit), QIPCO 2000 Guineas (1996 Mark of Esteem, 1999 Island Sands), QIPCO 1000 Guineas (1998 Cape Verdi, 2002 Kazzia, 2011 Blue Bunting) Irish Classic wins (7): Irish Oaks (2001 Lailani, 2003 Vintage Tipple, 2011 Bleu Bunting), Irish Derby (1994 Balanchine), Irish 2000 Guineas (2000 Bachir, 2005 Dubawi), Irish St Leger (1999 Kayf Tara) French Classic wins (7): Prix du Jockey-Club (1992 Polytain, 2005 Shamardal, 2007 Lawman), Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1995 Vettori, 2000 Bachir, 2005 Shamardal), Prix Diane Hermes (2007 West Wind) Royal Ascot wins: 49 First Royal Ascot win: Queen Anne Stakes (June 19, 1990 Markofdistinction) Major Royal Ascot wins: Gold Cup (1992 & 93 Drum Taps, 1998 Kayf Tara, 2004 Papineau, 2012 Colour Vision), St James’s Palace Stakes (1997 Starborough), King’s Stand Stakes (1994 Lochsong), Prince of Wales’s Stakes (2001 Fantastic Light, 2002 Grandera, 2011 Rewilding), Golden Jubilee Stakes (1995 So Factual), Queen Anne Stakes (1990 Markofdistinction, 1997 Allied Forces, 1998 Inktikhab, 2003 Dubai Destination, 2004 Refuse To Bend, 2007 Ramonti), Leading rider at Royal Ascot: 1997(4 wins);1998(7 wins); 1999 (4 wins); 2003 (3 wins); 2004 (6 wins) Wins (1987-2013): 8, 22, 75^, 141, 94, 101, 149, 233*, 216*, 123, 176, 132, 132, 47, 94, 69, 101, 195*, 87, 131, 77, 67; 103; 123; 72; 51; 16 ^Champion apprentice *Champion jockey Wins in 2014: 25