A giant of horseracing, dwarfed only by his own reputation and personality. Uses a trademark ‘flying dismount’ in the winner’s enclosure.
Champion jockey in 1994, 1995 and 2004, Dettori has won virtually every major international race – although it took him 15 attempts to triumph in the Derby, on Authorized in 2007.
He began his career with trainer Luca Cumani, becoming the first apprentice to ride 100 winners since Lester Piggott. Famously, he won all seven races on a single day at Ascot in 1996 – a feat remembered as “The Magnificent Seven”.
Dettori escaped with a fractured ankle from a light-aircraft crash in 2000 which killed the pilot. Awarded the MBE in 2000. His father Gianfranco was a top Italian jockey. An avid Arsenal fan. Get your hands on his mobile phone and you’ll discover contacts like David Beckham and Ronnie Wood.
He was the ambassador for QIPCO British Champions Series in 2011 and 2012 and in the inaugural year, 2011, he finished second in the Jockey of the Series table with five winners, one behind Tom Queally, who had the help of Frankel.
He was banned from race riding for six months in December 2012 after testing positive to a prohibited substance while riding in France three months earlier. He took advantage of this time off to enter the reality TV show, Celebrity Big Brother, in January 2013.
He was retained by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation for 18 years as their number one rider, but that relationship ended in October 2012.
Dettori returned to the saddle after his ban at Epsom on May 31, 2013, now riding as the retained jockey for Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani and had two near misses in big races, when second in France on Olympic Glory in the Prix Jacques Le Marois and second on Shea Shea in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. However, he finally got his first Group 1 victory in September when bringing the Criquette Head-trained Treve home in front in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp.
In 2014, Dettori struck on Olympic Glory in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, his only QIPCO British Champions Series success that year.
However, 2015 was to be a turning point in the Series for Dettori when he became the partner of Golden Horn. The John Gosden-trained colt but his rivals to the sword in the Derby to give Dettori his second win in the race. His second Series win of the year followed shortly afterwards aboard Wesley Ward’s fast-finishing, Undrafted in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Golden Horn would return to give Dettori his third Series win in the Coral-Eclipse before narrowly missing out on a fourth in the Juddmonte International. Later that year, a first win in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup was secured aboard Flying Officer at QIPCO British Champions Day.
2016 got off to a flying start, taking the first race of the Series (2000 Guineas) aboard the talented Galileo Gold before doubling his tally for the year on the same horse in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Later on that year, Dettori’s third Series win that year was secured as he steered Journey to victory in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes – a formidable partnership with John Gosden had been truly forged.
2017 – step forward Enable. Dettori and this fantastic mare achieved some great things through the late 2010’s and 2017 was no exception. The pair were victorious in the Investec Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) and the Darley Yorkshire Oaks for an all-conquering season. A first win in the QIPCO Champion Stakes was also achieved with Cracksman and Persuasive provided him with a double on the day in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO).
2018 saw the addition of another standout string added to Dettori’s bow – Stradivarius. The champion stayer dominated the Long Distance division in 2018, winning five of the six races in the staying division for older horses. He also picked up two further Series races that year when piloting Cracksman to victory in the Coronation Cup at Epsom and then a second victory in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at QIPCO British Champions Day – the only horse to achieve this feat so far.
2019 was nothing short of mesmerising from Dettori. A record-breaking 14 victories were achieved through the season on some top-class horses; Enable (Coral-Eclipse, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Darley Yorkshire Oaks), Stradivarius (Matchbook Yorkshire Cup, Gold Cup, Qatar Goodwood Cup, Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup and Magners Rose Doncaster Cup), Logician (William Hill St Leger), Advertise (Commonwealth Cup), Crystal Ocean (The Prince of Wales Stakes), Too Darn Hot (Qatar Sussex Stakes) and Star Catcher (QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes). Several of these names will live long in the racing history books and so will the name of the man that steered them.
2020 Royal Ascot went as to be expected – Frankie Dettori winners. His first Series win of the year was a romp on Stradivarius in the Gold Cup – the chestnut’s third consecutive win in the race and by a huge margin. He followed this with a super-saturday esk performance, winning the St James’s Palace (Palace Pier) and the Coronation Stakes for the first time (Alpine Star).
Dettori is a QIPCO British Champions Series legend.