17 English Classics and counting is the total for Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori, a jockey that has graced the world of horse racing with a rarely found combination of talent in the saddle and abundant personality in front of the cameras. Of course, no matter what he has done, or will do in the future, he’ll always be remembered for his flying dismounts.
After he was required to serve a suspension for taking a banned substance to try and keep his weight down in 2012, it would have been easy for the then 41-year-old to retire and begin a new career in TV or even training. However, with his love of riding very much still his focus, he bounced back to add the last three classic winners to his CV. Those wins included Galileo Gold in the 2,000 Guineas, Golden Horn in the Derby, and Enable in the Oaks.
Enable may not be the last of Dettori’s Classic winners though, as Too Darn Hot look sure to be the winter ante-post favourite for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, with the current association between trainer John Gosden and Dettori continuing to go from strength to strength.
Frankie Dettori Fact File
Born: December 15, 1970
Married to: Catherine
Children: Rocco, Tallula, Mia, Ella, Leo
Frankie Dettori’s Personal Life
The chances of Frankie Dettori being a jockey were always higher than most, as his dad was 13-times Italian Champion Jockey and dual English 2,000 Guineas winner Gianfranco Dettori.
Indeed, it was Frankie’s dad who introduced him to racing when he bought him a pony. That quickly made Frankie’s mind up about his future career and he started his working life as an apprentice jockey/stable boy. He was quickly snapped up by fellow Italian Luca Cumani, a successful race horse trainer in England, for whom he became an apprentice in 1985, before going on to become Cumani’s full-time stable jockey.
Such was Dettori’s talent that he rode 100-winners whilst still a teenager, becoming the first jockey to do so since Lester Piggot. Piggot would later compliment Dettori by saying he was the finest jockey riding today.
A standout moment in Frankie’s career was riding all seven winners at Ascot on September 28, 1996.
Not everything in Frankie’s career has been positive though. In 2000, he remarkably survived a plane crash in which the pilot was, sadly, killed. Later that year Dettori received an MBE.
He’s also appeared on TV in a variety of roles over the years. He was a captain on A Question of Sport in 2003 but, was so alarmed when a member of the audience asked him when he retired from being a jockey, that he quit the show. In 2010, he then openly admitted to taking diuretic drugs in an interview for Newsnight in 2010. In 2013, whilst serving a ban from racing, Dettori then appeared on the eleventh series of Big Brother.
Frankie Dettori’s Career Highlights
Frankie Dettori has ridden the winners of over 500 Group Races, with the highlights being three wins in the 1,000 Guineas, three wins in the 2,000 Guineas, two Derby winners, four Oaks winners, and five St Leger winners.
His win in the 2018 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe aboard Enable also saw him become the only jockey to win Europe’s richest race for a sixth time.
He has currently ridden over 3,000 winners, the most winners by any flat jockey currently riding in the United Kingdom. Dettori has also ridden group races winners in over 20 countries, a list that includes Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, Mauritius, the USA, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Abu Dhabi, Ireland, South Africa, Slovakia, Trinidad & Tobago, Hong Kong, Macau, Germany, Qatar, France, and Bahrain.
Frankie Dettori’s Classic Winners
Balanchine (1994 Oaks)
Moonshell (1995 Oaks)
Classic Cliché (1995 St Leger)
Mark Of Esteem (1996 2,000 Guineas)
Shantou (1996 St Leger)
Cape Verdi (1998 1,000 Guineas)
Island Sands (1999 2,000 Guineas)
Kazzia (2002 1,000 Guineas)
Kazzia (2002 Oaks)
Scorpion (2005 St Leger)
Sixties Icon (2006 St Leger)
Authorized (2007 Derby)
Conduit (2008 St Leger)
Blue Bunting (2011 1,000 Guineas)
Golden Horn (2015 Derby)
Galileo Gold (2016 2,000 Guineas)
Enable (2017 Oaks)