Frankie Dettori continued his group I hot streak when driving Ramonti to a head victory in a thrilling renewal of the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
The win marked the first group I victory in England for Godolphin since 2005, when Punctilious captured the Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I).
Godolphin purchased the 5-year-old horse at the end of 2006, after a season in which he won the Premio Vittorio di Capua (Ity-I) on his way to being named Italy's champion miler. In his debut for Godolphin, the bay finished a short head behind Red Evie in the Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at Newbury.
The Queen Anne marked the highly anticipated return of champion George Washington, who had been retired at the end of last season. After an unsuccessful stint in the breeding shed, the son of Danehill was returned to trainer Aidan O'Brien.
The 4-year-old appeared a bit rank on the gallop down to the starting gate, continually tossing his head and fighting jockey Mick Kinane. It looked as though “Gorgeous George” was going to continue to fight Kinane during the race as well, as the horse fought his rider for several strides out of the starting gate. He settled down and got his mind on running after the first furlong, however.
Dettori and Ramonti went to the front just two furlongs into the race, and challenged the field to come to them. Several runners tried their best, with 14-1 shot Jeremy snatching the lead with under two furlongs left to run. Ramonti would not give in, and fought back to recapture the lead from the Michael Stoute trainee.
George Washington and Turtle Bowl were rolling by this time, and the race was still up for grabs. Ramonti prevailed in a blanket finish by a short head over Jeremy, who in turn was a short head in front of Turtle Bowl. George Washington was another head back in fourth.
Ramonti, a son of little-known stallion Martino Alonso, set a new course record in the Queen Anne. Time for the eight furlongs was 1:37.21.
Dettori told reporters after the race, “They all went by me, but I knew they would come back. He really dug deep and got his head down for me on the line.”
He continued, “It's been awhile since we won a group I in England. I'm so happy and thrilled for my boss that he is back to where he belongs.”
Despite George Washington's defeat, Aidan O'Brien was still pleased with his performance. “We were delighted with his run,” O'Brien said afterwards. “After going to stud and covering 60 mares you would be a bit fresh, wouldn't you? It was a good run back and he showed his early pace. He looked out of it for awhile, but came home well.”