Frankie Dettori is one of the most popular personalities in the world of flat racing. Dettori was virtually born into a life of horse racing, and was introduced to the races by his father, Gianfranco Dettori, himself a champion jockey in Italy and 1,000 Guineas winner.
Frankie Dettori began riding at the age of eight, when his father bought him a Palomino pony that he would practice on daily. At the age of 13 Dettori left school to work full time in a stable as a stable-hand before moving to England where he worked for Luca Cumani.
By the age of 15 Frankie Dettori had begun working full-time as a jockey. After a year in England Dettori returned to Italy and had a good first season that saw him ride 14 winners. In 1987 Frankie Dettori won his first race in England when he won at Goodwood on Lizzy Hare.
The young jockey had to wait until 1990 to claim his first major race win, when he won the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Mark of Distinction. That season Frankie Dettori chalked up 100 race wins, becoming the youngest jockey in British flat racing history to achieve this feat.
One of Frankie Dettori’s most impressive achievements came at the 1996 Royal Ascot meeting, where he made history by taking 7 Royal Ascot races in a single day beggaring the bookies who had put 6720-1 odds against him achieving a seven-race run of wins. This performance earned Frankie a massive amount of publicity and catapulted the Royal Ascot legend into stardom.
Despite his successes on the track, the Royal Ascot legend has endured his fair share of mishaps and controversy. In 2000 Dettori was involved in a serious air accident which saw his chartered flight crash on route to Goodwood, killing the pilot. Dettori missed the 2000 Royal Ascot as a result of his injuries.
In 2001 Frankie Dettori was back in the saddle, and during this season chalked up his 100th Group 1 win with a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe win in France. The next season saw him take home two Classics as he won the Oaks and the 1,000 Guineas. These Group 1 victories are celebrated by the Royal Ascot legend with a special flying dismount in the winner’s paddock.