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Arrest Gives Dettori Good Shot in His Final Derby

Arrest and jockey Frankie Dettori are ready for the Derby Festival (Photo: The Jockey Club UK).

Jockey Frankie Dettori believes he is going into his final Betfred Derby with a “great chance” aboard Arrest, who will be his mount in the 244th running of the premier Classic over a mile and a half at Epsom Downs on Saturday 3rd June.

Arrest scored twice in 2022 and made a winning reappearance in a leading Betfred Derby trial, the Group Three Chester Vase, on May 10th.

Speaking after the workout, Dettori said: “It’s all about getting used to the course and the most crucial part is Tattenham Corner, where horses can really win or lose a race. He went round there fine. In the straight, it took him a furlong to get organised but he’s a big horse. He then went very straight and I was very happy with him.

“He is growing up and getting stronger. The ground is an issue but Andrew (Cooper, Clerk of the Course at Epsom Downs) always does a great job and I haven’t ridden in a very fast Derby for a long time – it has always been good or good to soft and, fingers crossed, the rain will continue.

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“Every week, horses improve and we still have two weeks to go. I would expect this horse after the gallop today to go on a bit and it’s very hard to assess one year to the next. But I am very pleased with him – he looks great and has done well in the gallop this morning.

“We always thought a bit of him last year but he was all frame and no muscle. He did well over the winter and Chester was great. In the other trials Passenger (third in the Dante Stakes) impressed me most – he’s not in the Derby at the moment but I expect he will be (supplemented).”

Dettori is 2 for 27 in Epsom Derby

Dettori has ridden in the Betfred Derby 27 times, winning twice aboard Authorized (2007) and Golden Horn (2015).

He continued: “I have been fortunate enough to win The Derby twice and it is still the most famous race in the world for us. When I started my career as a jockey, first of all you want to get a ride in it and then try to win it. I’ve had over 20 rides in it and this is my last go. At least I am going into my last Derby with a great chance.

“This year is a lot of lasts. I went to Rome yesterday and it was my last Derby there. I saw the vice Prime Minister and he gave me a plaque congratulating me on my career. Now it’s my last Derby here and I have a live chance, which is good.

“It looks a wide-open Derby and I haven’t seen any horse really dominating any of the trials – they all won, but nobody won by a really wide margin so it looks a competitive and open Derby.”

Trainer John Gosden added: “This horse can change gears, absolutely. He’s a big boy and he proved he stayed the other day (in the Chester Vase) when he handled the conditions. He doesn’t need it to be like that.

“He’s a big boy and they always say that when they’re leggy like that the track is trickier for them here, but Frankie said he got himself organised and came nicely on the bit down Tattenham Corner onto the straight – so he was pleased enough with him.

“I think it’s all about getting a feel for the track and not actually about finding out how fast they can go around the track today. I tend to save that for the following weekend. We clearly were pulling up at the half furlong marker, we weren’t going to the finish line and then rolling off down the hill, so it was very much an exercise gallop and not a test of ability.

“He was touched off in the Group One over a mile and a quarter at Saint-Cloud last year, so he was in the Derby then and he was the only one I had that was likely to come to the Derby and put up a bold show. You’re always lucky if you’ve got more than one to look at.

Arrest Wins Boodles Chester Vase Stakes

“In a way it’s about 4-1 or 5-1 the field and to that extent he belongs right up there with them.

“He’s got the stamina, to do what he did at Chester in ground like that shows he’s got the stamina, no problem.

“Stamina is a requirement in this race, the same for the Kentucky Derby going a mile and a quarter for the Americans, they see it as a marathon.

“Stamina wise you never really know until you go the mile and a half, you really don’t. Everybody thinks this is a downhill track, but it’s uphill, it rises 150 feet before you start going downhill, then you have a last section which climbs before the finish and it can catch a lot out on stamina.”

Arrest is currently a 13-2 chance with the sponsor for the Betfred Derby.

On his likely Betfred Oaks ride Soul Sister, the impressive winner of the Group Three Musidora Stakes at York last week, Frankie Dettori added: “John (Gosden) kept believing in her and at the time (when last in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury last month), his horses were not running that well. Then at York she took me by surprise as she quickened twice, travelled and clocked a very good time. I was impressed,

“She has to go an extra two furlongs in the Oaks but the signs are good. Obviously the O’Brien filly (Savethelastdance) won by 22 lengths at Chester and is going to be hard to beat but we’ll give it a go.”

Betfred make Soul Sister an 11-4 chance for glory in the Betfred Oaks on Friday 2nd June.

Dettori has ridden six Betfred Oaks heroines and is the most successful current jockey in the premier Fillies’ Classic.