Frankie Dettori: ‘Whoever invented the mobile phone should be shot instantly’

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  • Flat-racing supremo, Frankie Dettori, features in this week’s H&H interview (17 November issue), where he provides fascinating insight into his life and 35-year career so far. Here we pick out just three highlights from the interview, as told to Kate Johnson.

    Frankie on his proudest moment

    It happened at his local Pony Club with his daughter Ella. She was competing in a pairs jumping competition but her partner hadn’t turned up.

    “I’ll do it for you,” he told her before checking, “What do I have to do?”

    Ella explained: “If we jump properly we get points.”

    “Whatever,” he remembers thinking vaguely.

    He followed his daughter’s instructions, and – surprise – they won the competition. When both of their names were announced over the loudspeaker, the other mothers “went berserk”, he says, “as though I’d taken a meal out of their mouths! It was just a rosette!”

    Frankie on social media

    “I completely hate it, I just learnt how to text a couple of months ago,” he says. “Whoever invented the mobile phone should be shot instantly.”

    He doesn’t even have Instagram on his phone, but passes on photographs to his secretary to upload instead. As he says, “That way if I get abuse, I won’t hear it.”

    Frankie on Enable

    The great, and now retired, Enable was partnered by Frankie her in nearly all her races, including 14 of her 15 wins, 11 of which were Grade Ones. The bond between them was deep. She created specialness all around her. Her groom Imran Shahwani arrived from Pakistan with no English and having never sat on a horse. Trainer John Gosden took him out for an hour every day after third lot, teaching him to ride on ponies. Imran has described Enable as “a once in a lifetime horse”. Frankie snipped her tail (and mane) and cried for two days when she retired, and describes her as the love of his life. He was never happier than communing quietly in her stable and feeding her Polos.

    “She had everything,” he says with unmistakable pride. “She could take you on and fight, she could do anything, she had brilliance.”

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