Mail Sport's Marcus Townend picks his favourite Dettori moments

From his stunning Arc win to showing his genius on Never Can Tell and riding the first four winners on Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot – Mail Sport’s Marcus Townend picks his favourite Frankie Dettori moments

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Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori makes his final appearance in front of a British crowd as Ascot on Saturday.

The 52-year-old bows out with five rides on Champions Day at Ascot, including King of Steel in the Champion Stakes.

Beforehand, Dettori has four other opportunities to sign off in style as he rides Trawlerman in the Long Distance Cup (1.15pm), Kinross in the Champions Sprint (1.50pm), Free Wind in the Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (2.25pm) and Chaldean in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (3.05pm).

Dettori has claimed more than 3,300 career wins over a remarkable 35-year career. 

Here, Mail Sport’s Racing Editor Marcus Townend picks out his 10 favourite moments.

Frankie Dettori riding Golden Horn wins The Qatar Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe in 2015

1. Golden Horn’s 2015 Arc win

How do you start to whittle down Dettori masterclasses? Undoubtedly, the best jockey riding from the front and controlling the pace since the great Steve Cauthen. This was one of his best.

A wide draw in stall 14 of the 17 runners was a concern but Dettori counter-intuitively kept his mount wide of the remaining runners for the first two furlongs before cutting in to sit just behind the pacesetter.

There he restrained Golden Horn until launching an attack for the line a quarter mile from the finish which saw him beat Flintshire two lengths with two-time Arc winner Treve back in fourth.

2. Enable’s 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf win

Dettori won a heap of big races with his favourite racehorse including three King Georges and two Arcs. But at the end of a difficult season, when she only ran three times, Enable and Dettori produced a courageous run at Churchill Downs as pulled three-quarters of a length clear of Magical who had slipped through to lead while Enable had to go wider on the home turn around the runner-up’s stablemate Hunting Horn. The punch in the air as he crossed the line showed how much the win meant to Dettori.

3. Never Can Tell’s win in the 2011 Cesarewitch

A ride which encapsulated Frankie’s genius. The 25-1 shot looked a write-off when drawn impossibly wide in stall 36 of 36. But, within two furlongs of the two and a quarter mile contest, Dettori got his mount over to inside rail in the lead before switching Never Can Tell to race solo up the long Rowley Mile straight after the field took the only bend in the race. Dettori’s tactics looked madness but it was an audacious success as his mount won by a length and a half.

4. Mother Earth’s 2021 1,000 Guineas win

Not everyone likes Frankie Dettori’s antics, they feel he wants to hog the limelight. But no other jockeys have garnered the sport as much interest and publicity.

This wins sticks in the memory because of Dettori’s reaction. Covid-19 restrictions meant Newmarket was virtually deserted with the atmosphere of a library. Frankie celebrated his 20th British Classic by whooping and hollering all the way back to the winner’s enclosure before repeatedly shouting ‘Come On Me’ which you could still hear echoing around the Weighing Room.

The jockey celebrates with trademark flying dismount from Stradivarius at Royal Ascot in 2019

5. Riding the first four winners on Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot in 2019

Dettori can inject a frisson into a race day like no-one else. A’Ali, Sangarius, Star Catcher and Stradivarius in the Gold Cup gave him a 449-1 four-timer and had the bookies in serious panic mode. He was whipping the crowd into a frenzy and his next mount, Turgenev, was sent off 7-2 favourite in the 28-runner Britannia Handicap.

For seven and a half furlongs of the eight furlong race Turgenev looked like winning and in truth Frankie got a bit carried away and probably kicked on a bit too early. His sixth and final mount was unplaced and bookmakers sighed with relief.

Had he gone through the card at such a big card would have made the financial hit off the scale compared to his 1996 Magnificent Seven.

6. Conduit’s 2008 St Leger win

Another moment frozen in the memory bank for what happened after the race rather than in it. Dettori had already won the St Leger five times but trainer Sir Michael Stoute had been frustrated on a number of occasions including with the great Shergar in 1981 and he hasn’t won it since.

A bubbling Dettori hugged the reserved, publicity-shy trainer and planted a kiss on his cheek, something no other jockey would have dared to do as he said: ‘I said to Michael that he has had Lester Piggott, Willie Carson, Walter Swinburn, Pat Eddery, Kieren Fallon, Steve Cauthen and Ryan Moore so I was the last name on his book and I have got him out of trouble!’

7. Winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic with Raven’s Pass in 2008

A personal one this, but Dettori blowing kisses to the British Press Corp in the outside media area after he had become the one and only British-trained winner of the signature race of the Breeders’ Cup meeting on the John Gosden-trained colt.

It did help that we were euphoric, our syndicate having just won the Pick Six, while the grumpy US hacks were spitting tacks because the unthinkable had happened with the defeat of hot favourite Curlin, who was chasing back to back wins in the race.

8. Lifting Ouija Board home in the 2006 Nassau Stakes

A race for the ages. Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun were locked in battle for two furlongs before Alexander Goldrun nosed ahead. But Dettori’s rhythmic urgings lifted his mount back in front by a short-head in what will be forever hailed as one of the greatest races run at Glorious Goodwood.

Dettori hugged and kissed a delighted Sir Michael Stoute after winning the trainer his first St Leger since 1981 27 years later

9. Fantastic Light beats Galileo in the 2001 Irish Champion Stakes

It was revenge for Dettori and trainer Saeed Bin Suroor after they had been beaten by his Aidan O’Brien-trained rival in the King George at Ascot. Pacemakers made it a tactical race but Dettori finding a rail-side run while Mick Kinane was forced wider on Galileo around the Leopardstown home turn ultimately proved decisive in his neck victory.

10. Gregory at Royal Ascot this Summer

You have to have one from his final season and no ride better exemplifies the Dettori skill then this Queen’s Vase winner. In front after a furlong he controlled the pace and the race. The pursuers were all dancing to his tune as he kicked on from pole position entering the home straight.

Only runner-up Saint George could get close enough to lay a glove on him and Dettori had saved more than enough to see him off.

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