Frankie Dettori is without a doubt one of the most prolific and successful jockeys to ride at Royal Ascot. Throughout his career which spans over thirty years, Dettori has ridden well over five hundred winners and has managed to attain the much coveted Champion Jockey title on three separate occasions. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest jockeys riding, with many of his notable wins occurring at the renowned Ascot Racecourse.
Frankie Dettori’s Road to Success
It all started at the age of thirteen, when a young Dettori left school to pursue a career as an apprentice jockey and stable boy. After spending a year working at this, the young Italian went on to Great Britain which allowed him to apprentice with well known trainer Luca Cumani at Newmarket in 1985. Shortly after this, he became a stable jockey.
As a mere teenager, he quickly established himself as a notable and upcoming jockey. His first win came at the age of 16 in Turin in November 1986, while his first victory in Britain was the next June. In 1990, the young Frankie Dettori became the first teenager since Lester Piggott to ride 100 winners in one season. Dettori was on a sure road to greatness. Indeed, by the end of the 2017 season, he had ridden more than 3,000 winners in Great Britain, over 750 more than the next currently active jockey.
Further success continued to follow, with numerous winners in Group 1 races. To date, he is well known for his distinctive “flying dismounts.”
Dettori’s Magnificent Seven at Ascot
On 28 September 1996 Frankie Dettori achieved the immense success of winning all seven races on a single day at Ascot Racecourse’s British Champions’ Day. This is widely regarded as his most celebrated achievement to date.
Winning all seven races on the card was a near-impossible feat that Frankie managed to attain. This included the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
The collective odds of these wins was 25,051-1, which earned one lucky racegoer an incredible £500,000 when Dettori completed his ‘Magnificent Seven’.
This was certainly a landmark day for British horseracing, and made a hero of Dettori. Though he was already a well-known jockey prior to this, the achievement made him a household name. Below are the prominent and Magnificent Seven.
Wall Street at 2/1 Odds
Frankie Dettori’s first winning horse was called Wall Street, an incredibly fitting name since he single-handedly cost the betting industry more than £30 million. Frankie guided the three-year-old colt home over the mile and a half course to claim his first victory of the afternoon in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes.
At 2/1 odds, this was not the most surprising of Dettori’s winners of the day, but it set him up for a day of victory.
Diffident at 12/1 Odds
Diffident had a history of disappointing results, and it was thought that Frankie Dettori had little chance of victory on the 12/1 shot. Nonetheless, the Diadem Stakes was run fairly slowly, and this went in Diffident’s favour to result in win number two of the day for Frankie.
This was also the standout run of Diffident’s seven career wins.
Mark of Esteem at 100/30 Odds
This intense race came down to a two-way battle between Mark of Esteem and Henry Cecil’s competitive filly Bosra Sham. Dettori asked the horse for maximum effort and went on to claim his third victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. This win rendered him the best in Europe that year.
Decorated Hero at 7/1 Odds
Another rightly named horse allowed Dettori his fourth win in the Tote Festival Handicap. The race had 26 runners, and Decorated Hero carried the top weight of 9st13lb. With this in mind, Dettori’s chances of winning looked slim, however, his luck continued to increase as he pulled off a three-and-a-half length victory.
Fatefully at 7/4 Odds
Although narrow, this was still a great victory for Dettori in the Rosemary Stakes. Rival Ray Cochrane aboard Abeyr recalls the moment saying:
“As we pulled up, the horses were very close. I said, ‘Is anyone else getting a chance today?’”
Lochangel at 5/4 Odds
Triumph on Lochangel in the Blue Seal Stakes continued an astounding run for Dettori as he returned to the winners’ enclosure for the sixth time.
Fujiyama Crest at 2/1 Odds
This race attracted much media attention with the BBC interrupting its traditional Grandstand coverage to broadcast the live action from Ascot. The bookies slashed the odds for Dettori’s final mount, Fujiyama Crest. Initially set off as 12/1 favourite for the Gordon Carter Handicap, the odds were then 2/1. Many didn’t think the horse would win, however, he defeated Northern Fleet to seal Dettori’s place in the history books. A satisfying and magnificent finish.
Dettori’s Notable Ascot Wins
Frankie Dettori’s success story didn’t end there, since 1996 he has and continues to win a number of notable races at Ascot racecourse.
A few of his many wins include the Ascot Gold Cup in 1992, 1993, 1998, 2004, 2012 and 2018. In 2016 he won the British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes and the Champion Stakes twice in a row in 2017 and 2018.
He triumphed in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 1995, and again twenty years later in 2015.
The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is another race that granted Dettori five victories in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2004 and the famous victory in 2017 with Enable.
The highly coveted Queen Anne Stakes was won by Dettorri an impressive six times in 1990, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2007. Likewise, the champion jockey took victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes six times in 1990, 1996, 1999, 2007, 2010 and 2017.
What’s Next for Frankie?
In 2018’s Royal Ascot meeting Frankie Dettori once again stole the limelight on the opening day with a commendable three wins for John Gosden. He now stands as Royal Ascot’s third most successful jockey of all time, with only Lester Piggott and the late Pat Eddery above him.
It certainly doesn’t look as though the champion will be retiring anytime soon. The world’s best jockey (2017) noted on his plans to continue racing stating:
“I’ll carry on as long as I can. If I can get five years out of it, great. […] I’m 48. I get to 50 in 23 months’ time. I’m sure I can get to it. Hopefully I can ride his [Cracksman’s] progeny.”
With that said, we are sure Mr Dettori has many more wins to come and only time will tell what Royal Ascot 2019 and beyond have in store for this renowned victor.
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