Sir Michael Stoute believes reuniting Ulysses with Frankie Dettori can only be a positive factor in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar.
Dettori rode the four-year-old to finish fourth in the 12-furlong contest at Santa Anita last year but has not maintained the association this term due to a combination of injury and other riding commitments.
Jim Crowley duly stepped in to steer Ulysses to victory in the Eclipse at Sandown and Juddmonte International at York and was again in the plate as the Galileo colt finished third to the Dettori-ridden Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last time.
Ulysses had been in the frame to contest the Champion Stakes at Ascot just under two weeks ago, but owners the Niarchos Family were eager to prioritise the American event, with Stoute opting to secure Dettori’s services again.
He said: “The Niarchos Family are fervent Breeders’ Cup supporters and made it clear that the Turf was what mattered. There was nearly a change of plan, but it was scrubbed and he’s here.
“I felt in the Juddmonte Jim gave him a lovely ride, getting a nice lead, and now we have Frankie, who rode him in the Turf last year, back on board, which was my decision.
“Frankie has ridden him in a Breeders’ Cup Turf already and I think that is a definite advantage.”
Stoute was on hand with the Niarchos Family’s racing manager Alan Cooper at Del Mar as Ulysses enjoyed a spin on the turf track in the hands of main work rider Kevin Bradshaw.
Dettori was also spectating as Ulysses was notably on his toes as he left the barn and Stoute added: “He’s a free sweater and he’s bouncing, which is just the way he normally is.”
Stoute also runs defending champion Queen’s Trust in the Filly & Mare Turf, although she is on something of a retrieval mission having failed to get her head in front since that Grade One heat last November.
Stoute said: “Queen’s Trust is here to try to do it all again and while things have not been ideal for her this year, she will like these conditions and over that trip, she will hopefully get a strong pace to aim at.
“I think the ground is going to be fine and I hope she can raise her game.”
Stoute has won the Turf four times in his career and counts three Filly & Mare Turf victories on his record and he is thrilled to be at Del Mar this year.
He added: “I love the Breeders’ Cup and am delighted to have supported it over the years.”