Dettori confesses to Gold Cup nerves as Love fills Ascot air

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Frankie Dettori registered Royal Ascot winner number 75 on Wednesday but the superstar Italian jockey said he was nervous ahead of his record-equalling bid with Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup.

The 50-year-old rode an impeccable race on 22/1 outsider Indie Angel to win the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, giving father-and-son training partnership John and Thady Gosden their third win of the meeting.

The pair will team up with Dettori again on Thursday for Stradivarius's attempt to emulate four-time winner Yeats, who won from 2006 to 2009.

"I'm not lying, I'm nervous," Dettori said, referring to the flagship race of the five-day meeting.

"There are more runners than I thought (13), and then there's the question mark of the rain, so there's a lot of things to worry about.

"He's trying to do something that only Yeats has done -- win four Gold Cups -- so I'm not going to count my chickens yet."

The Irish took the feature race for the second successive day on Wednesday as the brilliant Aidan O'Brien-trained Love returned after 300 days off the track to win the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

Her performance was watched by Prince Charles, the current Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, who had been serenaded into the winner's enclosure by the national anthem as they arrived pre-racing in a limousine.

Queen Elizabeth II was once again absent.

- Love dominates -

Love showed enormous courage to lead from pillar to post and repel her challengers as they came at her in the closing stages.

Last year's Epsom Oaks and English 1000 Guineas winner brought a smile to O'Brien's face after a tough opening two days.

"I am delighted as it is her first run of the year and she was given a beautiful ride by Ryan (Moore)," said O'Brien.

"We are over the moon. She is very brave and she will be better for this.

"Not a better place than here to start her come back."

For once Dettori took a back seat when Indie Angel won as her Hungarian stable lad Viktor Konya burst into tears.

"This is amazing, amazing. I am in shock," said Konya, who upstaged the great showman in raising his arms and applauding as they returned to the winner's enclosure.

"This is the best feeling. This is so special. To be around her every day is a joy."

The Irish hit the ground running in the opener as Quick Suzy gave trainer Gavin Cromwell a first Royal Ascot winner with his first-ever runner at the meeting.

Cromwell, though, is used to success at the big festivals, having won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2019 with Espoir D'Allen.

"It is absolutely unbelievable to win on such an occasion," said Cromwell. It's great to have a Royal Ascot winner, it is centre-stage and is fantastic."

The Dubai-based Godolphin Operation had a double on the day, with Derby-winning trainer Charlie Appleby landing the Queen's Vase with Kemari.

He could now have a tilt at this year's Melbourne Cup -- a race Appleby won with Cross Counter in 2018.

"As we all know, in the past few years three-year-olds in the Melbourne Cup, they've produced the goods," sad Appleby.

"He's got a profile that is working in that direction (the Melbourne Cup), anyway."


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