Frankie Dettori’s ‘ambition’ to race against his son: ‘He can tell his children that we did it’

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  • Top jockey Frankie Dettori has revealed riding against his son is the one “amazing ambition” he wants to achieve before he retires.

    The winner of more than 500 Group races has often been asked about when he plans to retire, but told thejockeyclub.co.uk he would hold off on hanging up his boots if it meant he could race against his son, Rocco.

    “He’s only 14. I didn’t want him to do it [become a jockey],” he said. “It’s a job that has sacrifices and ridiculous hours.

    “Obviously as a parent I really don’t want him to do it but as a sportsman or as a way of life, if you love it then it’s really amazing.”

    He added if Rocco, who has raced in the Shetland pony Grand National series, wants to pursue the sport, then “obviously I’m going to try to help him”.

    “It’s up to him. At the moment he seems very keen but when you’re a teenager you can change from week to week,” he said.

    “I’m not holding my hopes too highly but if he does decide to do it I will back him and try to help him as much as I can.”

    Frankie rode against his own father, Gianfranco, before he retired.

    Asked if he would be tempted to extend his career to ensure he can ride against Rocco, Dettori Snr replied: “I’d love to. I did ride with my dad and it was an amazing experience and I’m very proud that I did it.

    “Of course, if he wants to do it. It’s an amazing ambition of mine to be able to ride with him. He can tell his children that we did it.”

    He added he owes his own career to his father.

    He was my inspiration,” he said. “He was a champion jockey in his own right.He won two Guineas here at Newmarket back-to-back. It was his vision to send me to England and that’s why I’m based here at the moment.”

    Frankie will be hoping for his third Investec Epsom Derby win on Saturday (1 June).

    His first came in 2007 aboard Authorized, while his second in 2015 with Golden Horn is what he describes asthe “most emotional moment” of his life.

    “Having Dad there [at Epsom in 2007] was amazing. We’d talked about it for years,” said Frankie.

    “He had this beautiful white gold watch that he used to pull out of the safe once a year when he went to the gala dinner and he used to dangle it in my face.

    “He would say, ‘One year when you win the Epsom Derby I’m going to give it to you’. Anyway, true to his word he brought the watch with him and he gave it to me. It meant a lot.”

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    Frankie added his 2015 triumph was incredible “for many reasons”.

    “I was 44, I’d been through some bad times,” he said.

    “The kids were old enough to understand. I remember they had made banners for me when I left the house.

    “In my 32 years as a professional that was probably the most emotional moment that I’d felt in my life when Golden Horn hit the front and I knew I was going to win.

    “To a point that I didn’t feel my body. It felt like jelly. Like someone had taken the power out of my muscles.

    “In all the big races I’ve won that was probably the most emotional I’d felt.”

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