While it might be tempting to think that a professional jockey with the resume Frankie Dettori claims could run a horse in a straight line, that temptation would lead to the sin of being mistaken.
In the final metres of the 2019 Melbourne Cup, Dettori permitted Master Of Reality to drift inside. It looked for all the world as though Dettori was preparing to move to the rail and set up a turn.
It did not impact Vow And Declare, the winner, although VAD was bumped by Il Paradiso, the horse Dettori and Master Of Reality forced inside.
From the live view and subsequent replays, it had all the makings of a potential disaster. Even watching the replays, after we knew there was no cataclysm, we cringed every time, expecting four horses and riders to crash and suffer mayhem of every imaginable sort.
Dettori had his horse in front into the final 100 metres.
Did he drift in to block those inside of him, thinking MOR did not have enough to cross at the front?
If Dettori’s ride does not result in a suspension for careless riding, it will supply further evidence that there is no justice. His was a move more appropriate for an apprentice at a picnic meeting, not that of a hoop who has compiled a list of major wins that is almost shocking for the breadth, width and depth. The bloke even has his own video game, called “Melbourne Cup Challenge.”
The Flemington stewards reacted by relegating Master Of Reality from second to fourth.
There is joy all across Australia, however, that a horse claiming to be Australia bred and born was able to beat the internationals that have come to dominate the Melbourne Cup.
Vow And Declare jumped from the 21st barrier at $11. Jockey Craig Williams had the ride of his life, moving his horse inside in a slow-paced race that required three minutes, 24 seconds and 76/100ths to complete.
The four-year-old gelding is by U.S. sire Declaration Of War from Australia’s Geblitzt. He was foaled in Queensland and has until now been under the radar of most, although his second in the Caulfield Cup and his Melbourne Cup earnings make his $60,000 purchase price seem like the bargain of the century.