The interesting life of Frankie Dettori

Franki Dettori and Courage Mon Ami after winning the Gold Cup. Image credit Megan Ridgwell

As any horse racing fan is no doubt aware, Frankie Dettori’s last race happened at Ascot this week. To have a final win on such hallowed ground in a last race is something most jockeys can only dream of. Frankie Dettori was a highly accomplished and renowned jockey in the sport of horse racing. Born on December 15, 1970, in Milan, Italy, Dettori has had a remarkable career spanning several decades.

His professional horse racing career began over three decades ago, in 1986 as an apprentice jockey in Italy. He gained almost instant racing success, including a win at Turin in his first year.

A few years later, in 1989 he moved to the UK to further advance his career, partnering with Luca Cumani as the trainer. This partnership quickly bore fruit when Dettori won “Champion Apprentice of the Year” in the same year as completing his move to the UK. From there Frankie Dettori winning streak (along with fame and fortune) kept growing. He has won the Epsom Derby twice, first in 1994 aboard the horse Erhaab and again in 2015 on Golden Horn. Other notable wins included the Leger Stakes, 1,000 Guineas, and 2,000 Guineas.

On September 28th, 1986 whilst racing at Ascot, Detorri won all seven of the races he was jockeying. This was a feat unheard of in racing. It is referred to as the “Magnificent Seven”. Anyone that predicted that outcome would be extremely happy with the odds at 25,000 to 1.

In 2000 for his services to horse racing, he was given an Honorary OBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to racing.

Dettori’s luck it seemed was unstoppable. He and fellow jockey Ray Cochrane survived a plane crash that killed the pilot. On the not-so-lucky side of things, he was caught using Cocaine and served a six-month ban which he later reflected on how it impacted his mental health.

Frankie Dettori continued to race and continued to win including prestigious events such as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France, the Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, and the Breeders’ Cup races in the United States.

Dettori’s wins however are not all on the racecourse. He is well respected in the industry. He has been named British Champion Jockey three times. (1994, 1995, and 2004)

In summary, it’s been an interesting ride for the jockey (pun intended) and to go out on a win in the final race just, adds to the legend that is Frankie.

Feature image courtesy of Franki Dettori and Courage Mon Ami after winning the Gold Cup. Image credit Megan Ridgwell

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