Popular Flat jockey Frankie Dettori is to go freelance, splitting from Godolphin after 18 years as retained jockey.
During the partnership the jockey rode 943 winners — including 110 in Group/Grade Ones — for Sheikh Mohammed’s organisation. The last Group One winner for the combination was Colour Vision in the Gold Cup at Ascot in June.
News came from Godolphin at the weekend that the retainer “was not really working” and that Frankie needed “a new challenge”.
The 41-year-old will be freelance from 2013.
Speculation began earlier this year when Godolphin signed Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre de Sousa, announcing that the rides would be shared between the three.
And last month Frankie took the ride on rival’s Coolmore’s Camelot in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
In a statement Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: “Frankie is looking for a fresh challenge and we felt that the retainer was not really working, so this is the best way forward. We have had many great days together and we look forward to working with Frankie in the future and hopefully enjoying more success together. He remains a great friend.”
And Frankie added: “I have had 18 wonderful years. Godolphin has been a major part of everything I have achieved in racing and I have loved every minute of it.
“I feel the time has come for a change. My position in the stable has changed a little bit and I need a new challenge. Sheikh Mohammed has been an unbelievable boss to me. He had the confidence to take me on board when I was young and we smashed every record together. I will be forever grateful to him for everything he has done for me and for my family.”