FRANKIE Dettori, the 19-year-old whose quick rise to prominence was

the subject of this column last week, took his jockeyship ambitions a

big step forward yesterday when he scored his first Royal Ascot success

on Markofdistinction in the Queen Anne Stakes, opening event of the

four-day meeting.

In a tremendous last-furlong battle with the experienced Bruce Raymond

riding Mirror Black, the young Milan-born rider brilliantly got the Luca

Cumani-trained colt home by a neck.

An hour later, riding the heavily-backed favourite, Lord Florey, he

was again demonstrating his great potential in a storming finish against

Steve Cauthen and Willie Carson to finish a length and a half and a

short-head behind Shavian and Rock City in the chief event of the day,

the #130,000 Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes.

After appearing to have lost all chance as the leaders turned into the

home straight, he coaxed Lord Florey into an electrifying last-furlong

effort in which the colt was catching the leading pair with every


The riding honours at the end of the first day, however, went to

Cauthen who headed the winning jockeys' table with a double,

subsequently landing the King Edward VII Stakes on the Henry

Cecil-trained Private Tender.

Earlier, he had almost stolen the Prince of Wales's Stakes on Peter

Walwyn's Relief Pitcher, who was just caught on the line after a

tremendous battle with Pat Eddery on the favourite, Batshoof, with

Michael Roberts on the flying outsider, Terimon, a neck behind and who

would have caught both in another half-dozen strides.

There is no better judge of pace when riding from the front than

Cauthen, as he has so often demonstrated in the past, one of his

greatest examples being the 1985 Derby in which he made virtually every

yard on Slip Anchor to win in a canter, and give Cecil his first premier


Yesterday, he sent Relief Pitcher into a three-length lead as they

left the stalls and, by the time the field swept into the home turn, he

had increased his lead to five lengths.

The Lambourn colt began to feel the effects of the tough Ascot

finishing rise inside the distance, and was just short-headed in a

thrilling blanket finish with Batshoof and Terimon.

The relieved winner trainer, Ben Hanbury, commented: ''A tremendous

ride by Steve -- he almost pinched it from us.''

Today's big attraction, the Royal Hunt Cup, was first run 147 years

ago, and is traditionally one of the season's great betting mediums,

drawing out many of the best handicap milers for its #30,000 prize

money. Which is chicken-feed in relation to the amount gambled on this

straight mile pillar-to-post cavalry charge.

Over the past decade or so, the big handicap has shown a tendency to

favour the higher-weighted entries, five being won by horses carrying

9st or above.

Nine of the last ten runnings have been won by four-year-olds, the

only exception being the six-year-old Come On The Blues, who scored in

1985 carrying 8st 2lb.

Today's field of 32, equals that of 1986, the two biggest line-ups in

the past twenty years. And a lucky pin might prove as good a solution to

the winner as the form book.

With a lot more hope than expectation, I have just a sneaking fancy

for Secretary Of State and Red Paddy. Paul Cole has booked Michael

Roberts for the former, and that could be a formidable combination.

However, Steve Cauthen rides Peter Makin's Red Paddy, who has missed

the break on his last two runs. If coming out on level terms, third time

might see the Marlborough gelding not too far away at the judge's end.

PAT Eddery has eased with one leading firm of bookmakers to

4-5 in their betting for the Ritz Club top Royal Ascot jockey. Steve

Cauthen, following yesterday's double at the meeting, is now 7-2, with

Walter Swinburn and Willie Carson both 6-1.