A delighted Frankie Dettori was crowned champion flat jockey for the third time in his career at Doncaster on Saturday, as the 2004 flat season came to an emotional end.

Dettori beat outgoing champion Kieren Fallon by 15 winners across the season, with a total of 192 triumphs against the Irishman’s 177. Dettori’s previous two championships were won a decade ago in 1994 and 1995.

The flamboyant Italian dedicated the championship to his pregnant wife Catherine, who was at Doncaster with their four children to witness the ceremony in a packed winner’s enclosure.

“My wife gave me the push to go out and do it. She set the snowball rolling. She was a big part of this championship. My family have been my inspiration,” he said.

Fallon, who has been champion six times out of the last seven seasons, was gracious about his defeat by his long-time friend and rival.

“Frankie is a good friend of mine and I am happy for him. He’s had a great season. He deserves it,” said Fallon.

Dettori said he would be aiming to retain the title next year, but acknowledged that it would not be easy: “It’s going to be hard because Kieren is a very determined person. I’m not saying I’m going to win it but I’m going to be knocking on the door again.”

Dettori’s main employer, Godolphin, was crowned champion owner with their trainer Saeed Bin Suroor taking the trainer’s award. Twenty-year-old Tom Queally was crowned champion apprentice jockey of the 2004 season with 59 winners.

  • Saturday also saw the racing world say farewell to successful trainer Toby Balding, who retired from the sport after 47 years in the business. Balding’s wins have included two Grand Nationals, two Champion Hurdles and one Gold Cup.