09/25/2010 1:59PM

Poet's Voice by a nose in Ascot's Queen Elizabeth II


Poet’s Voice, a 9-2 shot ridden by Frankie Dettori, won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, denying the Aidan O’Brien-trained Rip Van Winkle by a nose in the mile contest.

Makfi, the favorite, was a disappointing fifth of eight, running his second consecutive poor race at Ascot. The French invader, sent off at even money and ridden by Christophe Soumillon, was unable to find any extra in the straight.

Although the favorite didn’t fire, the other principles did. Rip Van Winkle took up the running from his pacemaker, Air Chief Marshal, 1 1/2 furlongs from home. He found more when asked by Johnny Murtagh, but 40-1 outsider Red Jazz belied his odds by staying within striking distance.

Meanwhile, Dettori had the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Poet’s Voice making a run from the rear and hit third place with more than a furlong remaining. He challenged the leader inside the final 100 yards and stayed on to lead at the wire in a heart-stopping finish.

Red Jazz was just a half-length behind in third, while another O’Brien-trained runner, Beethoven, kept on late to squeeze Makfi out of fourth, a further 1 3/4 lengths back.

“The horse was in tremendous form coming into the race, and it means so much to win these big races for Godolphin at Ascot, which is a special course for me,” Dettori said. “Saeed was confident he would run great. I thought we had a few pounds to find on form, but Saeed was right.”

It was a classic afternoon for Dettori, who rode four winners, including White Moonstone in the Group 1 Fillies Mile.

White Moonstone maintained her unbeaten record with a hard-fought neck victory over Together to give Dettori, bin Suroor, and owner Godolphin a pair of Group 1 successes.

“She didn’t run as well as she had last time at Doncaster [where she won a Group 2], but her class really pulled her through today,” Dettori said. “We’re really pleased with how she did it, and we can dream about next year’s classics now.”

The filly will not race again this season.

The most impressive-looking performance of the day came in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings over a mile. Frankel, named for the late American trainer Bobby Frankel, routed his opponents by 10 lengths.

Always going supremely well for jockey Tom Queally, he led three furlongs out and after that is was just a case of how far would he win by. Now a red-hot favorite for next year’s 2000 Guineas and Derby, the Galileo colt could really be something special.

Trainer Henry Cecil regards Frankel as the best juvenile he has trained in more than 30 years. Frankel is a Khalid Abdullah homebred.

“He was very impressive,” Cecil said. “Over the last two months he has just improved and improved. I’d question him getting the Derby trip as his mare was very fast, so you’d have to question it.

“We’d like to run him again this year, in either the Dewhurst Stakes or Racing Post Trophy. If possible, I’d like to finish his season earlier rather than later, so I would favor the Dewhurst at Newmarket with it being a week earlier than the Racing Post.”

When asked about the colt’s namesake, Cecil added “I knew Bobby. He was a great character and a great trainer.”