Dettori left in awe of simply stunning Snowfall
It is fair to say the hugely popular Italian has been there, done it and got the T-shirt many times at this stage of his career, with this his 21st British Classic success – his first coming aboard Balanchine in this race some 27 years ago.
However, the 50-year-old was left struggling to recall a victory quite so emphatic after Snowfall devoured the rain-softened ground and left her toiling rivals trailing in her wake on the famous Downs – passing the post a staggering 16 lengths clear, a race record.
“That was unbelievable,” said Dettori. “I had everything beat coming down Tattenham Corner completely. I got to the fence and she took off.
“I don’t think I’ve ridden a more impressive Classic winner. It was like an Arazi moment – it was her and the rest.
“It was a bit like playing cowboys and Indians – I was the cowboy with the gun! It was just like that.”
“I don’t remember the last time I won a race by 16 lengths.”
Snowfall had earned her shot at Oaks glory with a front-running victory in the Musidora Stakes at York just over three weeks ago, but was passed over on the big day by Ryan Moore in favour of stablemate Santa Barbara.
Just as he did when steering another Aidan O’Brien-trained supposed second-string to success in the in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last month in Mother Earth, Dettori proved a more than able deputy.
Ridden with the utmost confidence, the 11-2 winner moved ominously into contention before finding a gear very few possess to put the race to bed in a matter of strides.
It is a measure of just how impressed Dettori was with this display of raw power that he was moved to make comparisons with the brilliant mare Enable, whose victory in the 2017 Oaks launched one of the great careers that included 11 Group One triumphs.
He added: “The two question marks today were the ground and the distance, but she proved me wrong.
“The ground might have exaggerated the winning margin, but there was only one winner from the start.
“Enable was a superstar. She went on to win the King George and the Irish Oaks and the Arc (as a three-year-old).
“I wouldn’t put it past this filly – she’s that good.”
Dettori’s appearances in the saddle might be relatively fleeting these days, but this victory provided yet more evidence that when it comes to the big occasion, he has no peers.
“Racing has been good to me. The Oaks was my first Classic however many years ago and I’m still talking to you, riding in the big races on the good horses, so I’ll take it – I’m very happy,” he said.
“I’ve equalled Fred Archer’s record (of Classics) with 21. I’m only nine behind Lester (Piggott) – I’m on my way!
“This season I think I’ve had seven winners including two Classics, a Chester Cup and a Group Three at Haydock.
“I ride for John (Gosden) and unfortunately we didn’t have any Classic runners this year and I was able to jump on a couple of the Coolmore team’s.
“I’m very lucky.”