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Frankly Darling Never in Doubt in Ribblesdale
Credit: Ascot Racecourse

Frankly Darling Never in Doubt in Ribblesdale

ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – There was no doubting who was the best horse when Anthony Oppenheimer’s Frankly Darling took a commanding hold with 2 furlongs remaining before winning Tuesday’s Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) on Day 1 of the 2020 Royal Ascot Meet.

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The 6/5 stateside favorite in the field of 11 sophomore fillies, Frankly Darling was a bit keen early but Frankie Dettori was able to settle her along the rail in second. Golden Lips led through the early going, setting a quick enough pace that the field was strung out heading into and through the turn.

Dettori tipped Frankly Darling off of the rail and positioned her in striking range so that once she straightened for home, she was ready and able to get the first jump on the rest of the runners. Taking quick command, Frankly Darling easily distanced herself and remained confidently handled before crossing victorious.

The John Gosden trainee completed the 12-furlong event over good to soft turf in 2:25.27.

“Frankly Darling has got some lungs,” Dettori said. “We were burning plenty of petrol in the first half of the race. She was over-racing a bit, but I managed to slow her down on the turn for home. I thought she had every chance of stopping if she wanted to, but in fairness, she galloped out really well. She has got some lungs, let me tell you.”

Ennistymon rallied to take second ahead of fellow Aidan O’Brien trainee Passion, though neither posed any threat to the winner. Bharani Star, Golden Lips, Miss YodaAnastarsiaSo I Told YouTrefoilWest End Girl, and Hold Fast completed the order of finish. Born With Pride was a non-runner.

Frankly Darling’s win was her second straight after getting her inaugural score on the Newcastle all-weather surface just 15 days prior. The Frankel filly finished second in her only other start, coming on the Yarmouth turf last October.

“Frankly Darling is a lovely filly,” Gosden said. “She ran only once last year, at Chelmsford. She was a big, rangy girl and a bit unfurnished who needed time to develop. … She luckily got in on the first day at Newcastle – they divided a maiden, so she got to run on June 1 and won well. She’s still learning; as you can see, she was a little wild, there’s a bit of Frankel about her – ‘I want to run and it’s my business if I want to run, not the jockey’s’ – but she showed an awful lot of class today.”

Frankly Darling brought back $4.60 to win and $2.60 to place, Ennistymon brought back $5.20 to place, and Passion paid $4.80 to place. 

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