Ascot (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Frankie Dettori celebrated his 60th Royal Ascot winner in a memorable sixth Ascot Gold Cup success on Stradivarius on Thursday.
The 47-year-old Italian was headed briefly in the finishing straight but summoned a final burst out of the John Gosden-trained colt to edge French raider Vazirabad with Irish runner Torcedor, who led into the straight, third.
Victory for Gosden and Dettori was the perfect antidote to the crushing disappointment of their odds-on chance Cracksman getting beaten in Wednesday's feature race the Prince of Wales's Stakes.
Although Gosden has given Stradivarius the nickname 'Mickey Mouse' Dettori summoned up another image of an animal when describing him.
"He was a lion, he refused to lie down and fought everyone off," said Dettori.
Dettori said Ascot had a special quality about it that sparked something in him.
"I come alive here," he said.
"I think the crowd lifted him. The Gold Cup is the showcase of the week and to ride the first one for John and his wonderful team is very special.
"I give them big kisses."
For Gosden -- celebrating his 47th career win at the meeting -- said he had to remind Dettori that it wasn't just him who had won the race.
"I had to tell him as he came back to the enclosure that he had been riding a horse,"
"He is a gorgeous horse."
However, 65-year-old Gosden said despite his gentle ribbing of Dettori, he had special abilities too.
"There was a nasty fake news story that he was going to retire around the Epsom Derby," said Gosden.
"However, he is still riding with hunger and enjoying it.
"He is a great family man but he said to me the other day I am going to ride for another five years. if Mike Smith can win the Triple Crown aged 52 (on Justify this year) then I see no reason why I can't carry on."
Vazirabad's trainer Alain de Royer Dupre was delighted with the performance of his runner and said he might well come back next year and even the Goodwood Cup later this season might be on the agenda.
"I am very proud of him, he is a wonderful horse," said de Royer Dupre.
"He ran wonderfully but I think he got distracted a bit when he got touched in between Torcedor and the winner."
There was no joy for the 2016 champion Order of St George, who was under pressure approaching the straight and although last year's runner-up fought back into contention he then faded out of the picture.