Frankie Dettori revels in spotlight

Where to start? What a weekend of racing. It truly had something for everyone.

There was the agony and ecstasy at the Breeders' Cup, jubilation and desperation for Ruby Walsh at Down Royal and Paul Hanagan beaming from ear to ear at Doncaster after finally clinching his first jockeys' championship.

Over in America the pre-race hype over Zenyatta bidding to make it 20 out of 20 in the Classic was, for once, worth it. The massive mare, who, standing at 17.2 hands high is bigger than most three-mile chasers, has her own fan club but her huge army of followers watched in disbelief as she could barely raise a gallop inside the first furlong, becoming detached from the main group by over ten lengths and more than 20 behind the furious early pace.

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She eventually engaged top gear and her jockey Mike Smith even took a pull turning into the straight which was to prove crucial as, despite her customary flying finish, she failed by a head to catch Blame. Smith, who was in tears afterwards, said: "It was a little struggle for me early as she surprised me in that she didn't get a hold of the ground.

"If we'd got a better position it would have been a different outcome because I was on the best horse in the race, trust me."

There was joy for France as Freddie Head's wonderful mare Goldikova achieved what Zenyatta could not by winning at a third successive Breeders' Cup in the Mile and was arguably more impressive than in the previous two years.

After her win the possibility of her remaining in training for a further year was even raised.

"Alain and Gerard Wertheimer (owners) want to talk about the future. At the beginning of the year they thought it would be her last season but you never know, they love racing, you own racehorses for days like this."

Brian Meehan's Dangerous Midge was the solitary success for Britain in the Turf, although the fact Derby winner Workforce didn't run caused a real stir in the States. Frankie Dettori was on board and revelled being in the spotlight again.

Dettori said: "Thank God, I thought I was going home without a winner and he was my last chance, but we got there in the end. He was a little bit lazy in the straight and I had to get angry with him."

On this side of the Atlantic Kauto Star proved he will once again be the horse to beat in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day when he goes for an historic fifth win in the race, but he will have to do it without Ruby Walsh.Ireland's champion jockey, not long back after breaking his arm in April, had also won on Paul Nicholls' The Nightingale in the Grade Two chase but took a crashing fall from Corrick Bridge in a handicap, fracturing his right tibia and fibula and facing months on the sidelines.

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It had all gone to plan earlier on Kauto Star in the Champion Chase against two race-fit and up-and-coming rivals in China Rock and Sizing Europe and a possible tilt at the Hennessy is still a possibility.

""If he's back fresh and well and cantering he might go to the Hennessy," said Nicholls. "But if I find he's a bit quiet and I need to give him a couple of weeks off he won't"

At Doncaster Hanagan quite rightly took the plaudits after a magnificent season.

All the talk in the spring by the likes of Ryan Moore, Kieren Fallon and Dettori that they would be doing their best soon disappeared, and while Moore was injured, the others just could not keep up.

Hanagan led from the very first day of the season after a four-timer and, while Richard Hughes' efforts were admirable in closing the gap to two, defeat for the 30-year-old would have been tough to take.

"I'm gobsmacked to be honest. I'd be here all day if I was to thank everybody who has helped me. They know who they are," said Hanagan.

"I owe the boss (Richard Fahey) so much, I've been with him for 14 years and I owe him a lot. Also my agent Richard Hale.

"It sounds great being called champion jockey, I think it will take a while to sink in."

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The top-class action continued at Navan on Sunday as Colm Murphy's reigning Champion Chase hero Big Zeb made a successful comeback in the Fortria Chase.

"It's not ideal running on ground as heavy as that but it's a case of getting a run into him," said Murphy.

"I'm delighted with the way he jumped, and feel he's growing up a bit and is stronger, more mature and settling better in his races. He'll go next for the Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas."