- Full name Lanfranco Dettori
- Birth date December 15, 1970
- Current age 45 years 359 days
- Height 5 ft 4 in
Lanfranco "Frankie" Dettori is without doubt, and with sincere apologies to AP McCoy, the most famous name in UK racing. A bubbly personality and the enjoyment and comfort of the trappings of fame have made him into a media personality known far beyond the race tracks of Europe.
But before - and after - he was known for being a team captain on A Question of Sport, Dettori was and remains one of the world's great horsemen, and has enjoyed 20 years at the top since, in 1990, becoming the first teenager since Lester Piggott to ride 100 winners in a season. The son of 13-time Italian champion jockey Gianfranco Dettori, he moved to Britain in 1987 to ride for compatriot Luca Cumani and begin a glittering career.
His easy charm and party-piece of making a flying dismount off his horse on winning a big race had won him many a casual admirer but he really hit national consciousness when, on September 28, 1996, he rode all seven winners at Ascot, at odds of 25,095-1. By then, he had twice been champion jockey in 1994 and 1995 and already had won three Classic races. In 1994 he had joined up with the Dubai-backed juggernaut stable Godolophin, for whom he has been retained jockey ever since.
The international nature of the Godolphin operation and his appeal to other major stables as a rider of the highest class in the highest class races has seen him win major prizes around the world, including Ireland, where he has won every Classic, the Japan Cup three times, the Dubai World Cup on three occasions and in America, where he has a redoubtable reputation, with the Breeders' Cup a speciality. He won the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2008 on board Raven's Pass to cap success in just about a complete collection of the self-styled world championships' top races.
Dettori's public profile has receded somewhat in recent years as he concentrates what may be the twilight years of his career on the turf. He resigned his A Question of Sport post in 2003 to win the jockeys' championship the following year and finally landed the Epsom Derby in 2007 on Authorized. That ride, like the majority of his recent major successes, came aboard a horse that was not a Goldolphin horse, as the famous blue colours have struggled at Group One racing level in recent years.
Career High The "Magnificent Seven" at Ascot in 1996 may have to take a back seat to the win on the Peter Chapple-Hyam trained Authorized in 2007 which ended a Derby drought of 15 attempts. Taking the hold-up horse from 10th at the famous Tattenham Corner to leading two furlongs out was a piece of typical showmanship. He repeated his success by winning the French equivalent, the Prix du Jockey Club, on Lawman the next day.
Career Low Dettori has had his brushes with authority, having been cautioned for cocaine use in 1993 and, in a 1999 interview admitted that he had taken a litany of drugs to keep his weight down. His worst moment at a racecourse, however, came when he and fellow jockey Ray Cochrane were involved in a plane crash at Newmarket that killed pilot Patrick Mackey. Cochrane, these days Dettori's racing agent, needed to pull his friend from the burning wreckage.
Quotes "The horse thinks he's won. Unfortunately there was another one on the other side." Dettori was disappointed when a tactical ride on the opposite side of the track by Ryan Moore and Notnowcato denied Authorized the Eclipse at Sandown in July 2007.
Trivia The sad tale of former world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno's collapse into a bi-polar disorder was reported to have contained the 6" 4' boxer believing, while in a delusional state, he was actually Frankie Dettori. The real Dettori, meanwhile, keeps Fujiyama Crest, the final winner of his Ascot seven-timer, as a family pet at his Suffolk mansion.
- Dettori joins Al Shaqab Racing (Jul 1, 2013)
- Talent shows plenty to win The Oaks (May 31, 2013)
- Dettori slapped with six-month ban (Dec 5, 2012)
- Dettori given 'sympathetic hearing' (Dec 4, 2012)
Dettori case to be heard next Tuesday (Nov 27, 2012)