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 A racing home from home . . . Dettori (right) now lives in the village of Six Mile Bottom, near to Newmarket
Frankly Frankie
As a new and spectator-limited racing season eases into the summer months we talk to one of the sport’s big names and a Newmarket local
As sporting icons go, Frankie Dettori betters most, in spite of his diminutive 5ft 4ins” frame. A fierce competitor, a charmer, an entertainer, from the early days
of stardom at the start of the 90s – not least when in one season he became the first teenager since Lester Piggott to ride a 100 winners in a season. Then there are his legendary seven victories achieved at Ascot in September 1996, and finally breaking his Epsom Derby jinx at the 15th time of asking.
In later years the evolution of Franke Dettori, the brand, has come about. In simple terms it all adds up to the 50-year-old having never shied away from the next project; a rider who has always embraced what it is to live in the spotlight that shines so brilliantly over the sport of kings.
“Listen, I know how lucky I am to be living this life,” he begins. “It is good days and some bad days, like everyone else, but I am grateful every day at what the sport has given me, and as much as I can pay back, I will.”
A fixture on the racing card for over three decades, and someone who has prolonged his freelance riding career since parting company with Godolphin racing in 2012, Dettori can
claim to have lived through multiple generations and incarnations of the sport. We are now in an era where the welfare of horses is the first and foremost priority, while riders are athletes in their own right and treated as superstars.
“There is always an interesting balance between the jockey, the horse and the trainer,” says Dettori. “Everything is configured around that axis and if at any point one of those three things begins to deteriorate or doesn't feel motivated or stimulated to work in the best possible way, then you simply won't win races.
“I've worked with trainers and horses who, for whatever reason, have lost their spark,” he continues. “And I think jockeys are exactly the same; you can't be expected to be on your game every day of the week and in every race. I guess, just like in any sport, the ones who succeed are those who can find a way to be as close to their full potential as possible, for as long as possible.”
For a long time, Dettori’s UK base had been Stetchworth, one of the familiar territories for a number of jockeys looking to harness close access to Newmarket. He is married to Catherine and the couple have five children together. “It’s a great place to live and I have a
Frankie Dettori racing in a Land of Legends event in Dubai earlier this year

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