September 28th 1996 will be a date familiar to many of you and will no doubt go down in history as one of the greatest days in British horse racing and even British sport all together. For those of you who are not aware, this is the date that Frankie Dettori rode his “Magnificent 7”. Something that had never been accomplished before. To say it was unlikely is an understatement, with the initial accumulative odds coming in at 25,095 - 1 proving just that. All together it is estimated that bookies lost a combined total of £40 million due to the “Magnificent 7” and Frankie Dettori became a household name overnight. We are taking a look back at all 7 of his winners that day.
Wall Street, a great name for a horse that would be the start of a memorable day for Frankie and the bookies. Coming in at 2/1 it wasn't a huge surprise that he rode the 3 year old colt home in first place over a mile and a half, but it certainly set the day up for some memorable surprises.
Before the race had began Diffident came in with odds at a large 12/1, this showed it was fairly unlikely that Diffident would be able to add another win to Frankie’s day. However that was not the case and he managed to stride home in what is considered the most standout performance of Diffident’s career.
Mark of Esteem
10/3 are the odds that Mark of Esteem was given at the beginning of the race to take home the win. It came down to him and Henry Cecil’s impressive filly Bosra Sham. Mark of esteem managed to power through and take the win making him the best in Europe at the time and handicappers hailed it as the best performance over a mile of his generation for a decade.
Being part of a field of 26 runners and a moderate 7/1 in the bookies books it looked unlikely that Decorated Hero could carry on the dream that was about to be lived. Despite this he managed to pull to a 3 and a half length victory to secure Frankie’s 4th victory of the day.
Decorated Hero later went on to have a home at the British Racing School in Newmarket once his career had ended, helping teach aspiring future Jockeys.
This was probably the closest race of Frankies day with him just about beating his friend and rival Ray Cochrane on the day. Having won this race the so called “impossible” was nearly in touching distance.
After an already incredible day Frankie rode home on Lochangel to win this race and entered the record books, equalling Sir Gordon Richards (at Chepstow, 1933), Alec Russell (at the now defunct Bogside, 1957) and Willie Carson (Newcastle, 1990). However all of these were accomplished at much smaller/easier events, nothing compared to Ascot on one of the feature days of the season.
Being the last race of the day and the one that would decide whether Frankie would make history, this had to have drama and it certainly did, at least in the build up. With the bookies originally pricing Fujiyama at 12/1 to take the victory, odds were slashed to a mere 2/1 after so many people were backing him to win. However in reality no body thought this horse would win, but he proved them all wrong and finished the race top of the table. Frankie would later say that he believed the horse had a “sixth sense” of what was happening and performed beyond its ability. Later in his career Fujiyama Crest was rewarded for his efforts by retiring and becoming the Dettori family pet.