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Dettori takes flightw ith the torch atA scot.

AN ESTIMATED 10,000 people crowded into Ascot racecourse yesterday to see gold medallist Denise Lewis hand the Olympic torch to Frankie Dettori, who completed a couple of circuits of the parade ring on dual Cheltenham Festival winner Monsignor and then capped a fantastic occasion with a trademark flying dismount, torch in hand, writes Graham Dench.

Ascot's head of PR Nick Smith said: "There was the most fantastic atmosphere when they came on to the racecourse. I've never seen anything like it here.

"We laid on catering vans, a bit of a funfair and bouncy castles and so on and we hired Matt Chapman to get everyone going, which he was brilliant at. Monsignor spooked quite badly when he first came into the parade ring, but Frankie settled him and calmed him enough to go round the parade ring a couple of times and then even managed a flying dismount with the torch still in his hand."

Dettori, who had warned Post photographer Edward Whitaker that it might be too dangerous for a dismount, plainly loved every minute of it. He said: "I've had many memorable days riding into the winner's enclosure at Ascot but the reception I received today was unlike anything I've experienced before - it w as incredible.

"The atmosphere was amazing with so many people here, including my entire family which made it all the more special. It is a day I will never forget and I can't wait for the Games to begin."

Clare Balding is among those who will be carrying the Olympic flame today in Newbury on day 54 of its journey.


Frankie Dettori, riding former top hurdler Monsignor, carries the Olympic torch around the Ascot parade ring
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2012
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