At the age of 47, the popular top Flat jockey Frankie Dettori has no plans to hang up his racing boots quite yet, eyeing another five years at least in the saddle — despite previously saying he’d retire at 50.
The Italian has formed a formidable partnership with the John Gosden-trained superstar filly Enable, twice a winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and aboard her, Frankie won his fifth Breeders’ Cup Turf Race at Churchill Downs in Kentucky in November.
Frankie on… Enable, the 2018 Cartier Older Horse of the Year
“She’s the ultimate Ferrari — she’s so fast, it’s amazing. I get to ride her in the morning and she’s nowhere near the horse she is at the races,” he told CNN’s Winning Post. “When she gets to the races the blood starts pumping, the adrenaline goes and she just grows a foot and runs like a train. I guess that’s why she’s so good, she saves herself in the morning and runs like a train in the afternoon.”
Frankie on… his legendary flying dismount
“I had some winters in California when I was a teenager and I stole [the dismount] from a great jockey called Angel Cordero Jr. and I brought it to Europe and it didn’t go down very well with the officials in the early years, but now people get behind it and enjoy it. And to be honest with you, if I don’t do it, the public boos so I’m a slave of my own trademark flying dismount.”
Frankie on… retiring
“We’re always one fall away from retiring. The body doesn’t bounce as well as it used to when I was young. I used to ride 1,000 races a year, now I’ve cut down to about 300 to cut the risk of getting hurt and to prolong my career as long as I can. If I can squeeze another five years and get to 53, it will be brilliant.”
Frankie on… champion Flat trainer John Gosden
“He’s an absolute genius of a trainer and we have this bond together. He trains the horses to suit my riding and we understand each other on and off the racecourse. We’ve just got this bond, it’s very hard to explain, but things work for us and may it continue for a long time.”
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Frankie on… being positive
“People forget to understand we use horses for blind people, deaf people, handicapped people, people with needs. They have this sixth sense — what’s in your head goes through your arms and into the horse’s mouth. My little secret is I try to have a positive outlook in life, so when I get on the horse he feels that and performs better.”