In recent seasons Killarney racecourse has played host to a couple of subsequent Epsom Derby winners, namely Anthony Van Dyck and Wings Of Eagles, and during next week’s five-day July festival the stunning venue will welcome a former two-time Epsom Derby winner, this one a superstar of the weighroom: Frankie Dettori.
The leading jockey, whose recent exploits have forced some bookmaking firms to rethink their laying strategies on multiple bets, will be in action at the venue on Wednesday.
Dettori carried his astounding Royal Ascot form on to Sandown last weekend, and then to France on Sunday, completing listed and Group 1 successes on both days of the weekend.
And next week the globe-trotting Italian will be hoping to add further listed success to his sparkling CV, with the Cairn Rouge the feature on Wednesday’s card at the Co Kerry track. Given his current hot streak, it will be no surprise if he treats racegoers to his trademark post-race dismount.
The invitation was extended to Dettori by racing manager Philip O’Brien, who felt it would be a real coup for the track to have the international star in action at the meeting.
O’Brien, a former jockey who took up his current role in Killarney less than 12 months ago, has, like all horse racing fans, been wowed by the recent successes of the effervescent Dettori, and from that sprung the idea to make the call.
“Frankie Dettori is box office, and this is a tremendous feather in our cap to have him coming here to ride next week,” said O’Brien.
“His personality transcends racing and his popularity has never been greater, so we’re absolutely thrilled that he is willing to take time to include our July festival in his schedule.
“When the thought crossed my mind, I immediately contacted his agent, former jockey Ray Cochrane, and he was quick to come back to me with a positive.
“Killarney is widely recognised as one of the most picturesque racecourses in these isles and Ray told me Frankie would be only delighted to be part of it.
“Of course, we don’t yet have declarations, but the feature race on Wednesday is the listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes and I’m sure he will be in great demand.
“He has ridden many times for Dermot Weld, most recently winning the listed Coral Marathon on Saturday at Sandown, riding a horse, Falcon Eight, who was a winner at this track in August.
“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Mr Weld, who won the Cairn Rouge last year with Bella Estrella, was represented and Frankie was in the saddle?
“And there have been many times Frankie has enjoyed success with Aidan O’Brien, who has also won this race. There are numerous trainers who would only be delighted to give Dettori the leg up on one of their horses, so I think it’s safe to assume he won’t be watching the feature from the sideline.
“His presence will be a great attraction for racegoers. We’re certainly over the moon to have him as a guest, and it’s an added bonus to what should be another great July festival.”
The meeting begins on Monday next, July 15, and runs through until Friday, July 19, with the first three as evening meetings and Thursday and Friday scheduled for the afternoon.