By Jon Lees
GB: Frankie Dettori has picked up the ride on flying filly Artos, who will be a first Royal Ascot runner for US trainer Rusty Arnold.
Dettori, who rode his second Classic winner of 2021 when steering Snowfall to her record-breaking Oaks victory, will partner the two-year-old daughter of Kodiac in Wednesday’s Queen Mary Stakes.
Dettori takes over from Julien Leparoux on the Churchill Downs winner for the G2 contest, which Keeneland-based Arnold will be watching from home owing to a prior commitment. “We are excited about Frankie riding,” said Arnold. “It makes the decision to come a lot easier if you can get someone like him to come and ride your horse.
“We are really thrilled,” Arnold went on. “We think we have the right type of horse. We just need to get her there and have things go well in the last week.”
He added: “We have a wedding that’s been on the books for two years and we cannot make it. Ascot came up more sudden than the wedding!”
Irish-bred Artos was beaten six lengths on her Keeneland debut by the Wesley Ward-trained Ruthin, who also lines up in the Queen Mary, a race her trainer won for the fourth time in 2020 with Campanelle.
Artos took a step forward next time when beating another Ward runner Overbore by a nose. “She is lovely,” said Arnold.
“She got beat first time when she didn’t get away well but finished up good. She then came back and beat the colts at the Churchill Downs. The horse she beat, Overbore, came back and beat colts in a stake at Belmont on Friday.”
Artos, bought for 85,000gns by Kerri Radcliffe as a foal, is owned by Amy Dunne, Pat Harlow, Brenda Miley and Jean Wilkinsonm who will be travelling over for the meeting.
Arnold said: “The owners had it in their minds all along. It’s a little bit out of my wheelhouse; I had not done it. I know it’s a big dream for some people. I wish it was in a year that we hadn’t had to handle COVID and had other plans so I could come because it’s an experience that I would probably love.
“When she did not win at Keeneland it was put on the back burner and then when she came back and beat colts we talked it over and they wanted to give it a try. She recovered well, her breeze was excellent so it was all systems go.”
Arnold is a multi-G1 winning trainer of 1,843 winners. He has particularly excelled with fillies and mares, training the millionaires Concrete Rose, winner of the Belmont Oaks and Saratoga Oaks Invitational in 2019, and Clear Mandate, who won the Spinster in 1997, which he also won in 2017 with Romantic Vision.
Artos could be his next starlet. “We think she is very good,” said Arnold. “She is very quick. Things did not go great for her in her second start but she overcame that and won it.
“I have watched Royal Ascot in the past. I’ve watched Wesley’s run. I watched Tepin win. It would be nice to be there, but unfortunately I can’t.”
John Velazquez, who has rides for Ward, is now set to be the only US jockey in action at Royal Ascot. Irad Ortiz was injured last week and Joel Rosario has riding commitments at home.