Ascot round-up: The year Frankie Dettori ruled the Royal meeting
PUBLISHED: 11:55 23 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:55 23 June 2019
Racing's greatest annual occasion, Royal Ascot, is bigger than any one man.
But it needed a 48-year-old Italian to spark it into life this year - and Frankie Dettori proved up to the task.
Heavy rain on the opening two days left the traditional season's highlight looking a bit of a damp squib. Not that the racing was below par. After drawing a blank on the first afternoon, Dettori had a Wednesday double, capped by Crystal Ocean in the Prince of Wales's Stakes.
But on Thursday, the sun shone, the Ladies dazzled on Ladies Day and Dettori moved the occasion from the back to the front pages.
Royal Ascot made headlines for all the right reasons. Dettori, spectacularly, won the first three races. He capped it by winning the fourth, iconic Gold Cup, on Stradivarius.
The scenes after that victory were special. Her Majesty the Queen was clearly delighted, Stradivarius' connections were overjoyed and Dettori simply lapped it up. The place erupted.
It carried on for Dettori, culminating in the leading jockey title for the first time in 15 years with a week of seven winners.
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"It's unbelievable. Three Group Ones and a superb Thursday. I'm stuck for words.
"I started the week with Too Darn Hot getting beat and I thought it could be one of those weeks.
"Then it all picked up. We made headlines for the right reasons and won the Gold Cup with a fantastic horse."
Aidan O'Brien was again leading trainer, a true master of his craft.
Hayley Turner joined Gay Kelleway as a female winning jockey at Royal Ascot.
After Kelleway's 'Norfolk' victory on Sprowston Boy 32 years ago it seemed a feat never to be equalled. Turner put that myth to bed.
Young David Egan, a sure-fire champion of the future, landed his first Royal Ascot success, Northern-based Danny Tudhope advertised his brilliance with four wins and Godolphin's sprinter Blue Point won two Group Ones, the King's Stand Stakes on Tuesday and the Diamond Jubilee on Saturday, a remarkable double.
But the record books will recall Royal Ascot 2019 as the Year of Dettori.