Dettori tees up potential fairytale final Derby ride by winning the Oaks on Soul Sister

Jockey initiates Group One double at Epsom through Emily Upjohn in Coronation Cup

Frankie Dettori goes into his final Derby ride on the crest of a classic wave after Soul Sister in the Oaks completed a Group One double for the Italian jockey at Epsom on Friday.

Arrest will be Dettori’s 28th and final Derby spin on Saturday as he chases a third victory in flat racing’s ‘Blue Riband’ before retiring at the end of the season.

It is his lowest dividend from a stellar haul of English Classics that now stands at 23 after the Oaks became his most productive of all with Soul Sister victory No. 7 in the fillies’ equivalent.

The 11-4 shot proved too good for Aidan O’Brien’s odds-on favourite Savethelastdance after coming through from last to first in the straight.


The 52-year-old centre of attention had earlier landed the Coronation Cup on Emily Upjohn – also produced by the John & Thady Gosden team – who was a famously unlucky loser in the previous year’s Oaks.

Following last month’s 2,000 Guineas success on Chaldean, the burgeoning Dettori farewell bandwagon has Arrest challenging for Derby favouritism despite fears about quick ground conditions.

“I’m not going to sleep tonight,” laughed Dettori. “It means a lot, seven Oaks. It’s my last year and it’s my second Classic – unbelievable. They’re two great fillies, Emily and this one.”

Gosden’s other Oaks hope Running Lion had to withdraw at the start after kicking out in the stalls.

The trainer was keen to acclaim Dettori – “never anyone better” – while appearing to suggest hot weather might scupper any fairytale Derby outcome.

“I’d like them to turn on the watering system for eight hours tonight!” joked Gosden Snr who will leg up his old ally onto Arrest.

The Irish Oaks could be a target next month for Soul Sister.

“I think anything from a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half would be fine for her. The obvious race is the Irish Oaks but I wouldn’t be frightened of any mile and a quarter race for her either because she’s got the gears,” Gosden said.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column