Frankie Dettori brought a sparsely populated Newmarket to life with a string of animated celebrations after driving Mother Earth to a length success in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas.
The 50-year-old’s whoops of delight could probably have been heard in Cambridge such was his joy at winning a fourth 1,000 Guineas and 20th British Classic on the Aidan O’Brien-trained 10-1 shot.
Behind Mother Earth — tipped by Sportsmail’s Robin Goodfellow (Sam Turner) — it was a blanket finish with runner-up Saffron Beach, third Fev Rover, fourth Santa Barbara — the 5-2 joint-favourite and Ryan Moore-ridden O’Brien first string — and fifth Alcohol Free, the other joint favourite.
Frankie Dettori couldn’t contain his delight after riding Mother Earth to victory at Newmarket
Mother Earth’s win was a seventh in the 1,000 Guineas for O’Brien and his fifth in the last six years.
But this first racing weekend in May will be remembered as a celebration of the weighing room’s senior citizens.
Dettori’s victory came 24 hours after 54-year-old Kevin Manning won the 2,000 Guineas on Jim Bolger-trained Poetic Flare and Bob Baffert-trained Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby in the hands of 49-year-old John Velasquez.
Dettori, the oldest jockey to succeed in the first fillies’ Classic of the season since 50-year-old Charlie Smirke scored on Rose Royale in 1957, said: ‘I didn’t have the pressure of riding the favourite and I had a very willing partner who would give me everything.
‘Aidan gave me confidence and said, ”Forget Santa Barbara and ride your own race.”
‘It’s my 20th British Classic at 50 years old! I am only 10 behind Lester Piggott now and I have got plenty of time. Lester was 56 (when he rode Rodrigo De Triano to win the 1992 2,000 Guineas). Come on the oldies! I am getting the knack of this thing now. It took me 30 years to realise what to do!’
O’Brien had a 2,000 Guineas to forget with his three fancied runners unplaced as he failed to get a runner in the first four for the first time since 2013.
Aiden O’Brien fared surprisingly poorly in the 2,000 Guineas after Dettori’s 1,000 Guineas win
Any notion he was out of form lasted 24 hours as Mother Earth, running for the ninth time, swept into the lead two furlongs out. But his fears that hugely touted, once-raced maiden winner Santa Barbara might pay for her inexperience looked well founded. It was only a second career win for Mother Earth.
O’Brien, who intends running Derby ante-post favourite High Definition in Saturday’s Lingfield Derby Trial, said: ‘Mother Earth is a very consistent filly and that was very professional.
‘Mother Earth will stick to a mile and go to the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
‘It was unfair on Santa Barbara but we had to come with the view to coming back over here for the Oaks at Epsom.’