The horse racing world is preparing to bid adieu to one of its greatest icons. Frankie Dettori, the Italian jockey who has captured hearts and headlines alike, officially announced his retirement from horse racing last year, and his farewell tour has taken him to various corners of the globe as he endeavours to set the racing world alight one last time in his final hoorah.
As part of his tour, Dettori will be riding Gregory in the Betfred St Leger at Doncaster next week. Gregory came out as a Group Two winner at Royal Ascot over the same distance, and despite a setback at the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, he still remains a strong contender. With victory in the Betfred St Leger offering a purse of over £420,000, it’s fair to say this is a race worth its weight in gold. Among the main contenders standing in his way of a final St Leger victory is Desert Hero. The colt representing the King and Queen at Doncaster recorded a stunning victory in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot, and he’ll be looking to add the coveted St Leger title to his impressive list of achievements.
Dettori’s partnership with trainer John Gosden, who is in charge of Gregory, has seen tremendous success over the years, such as victories from Shantou in 1996 and Logician in 2019. They have also claimed prestigious wins in the Juddmonte International at York, the Ascot Gold Cup, the Prix Jacques Le Marois, and the 2000 Guineas, among others. Gregory now presents an opportunity for Dettori to secure his seventh St Leger victory, stamping yet another accolade to his career and solidifying his place in the books of the horse racing elite.
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The Italian’s journey in racing began in Italy in 1986, where he clinched his first victory as a stable jockey, though his meteoric rise realistically began when he achieved the incredible feat of winning all seven races on a single card at Ascot almost a decade later. The extraordinary accomplishment drew comparisons to the legendary Lester Piggott, setting the stage for a career that would etch his name into racing history. While the veteran jockey has made a name for himself across the globe, his dominance at the Ascot Gold Cup stands out. Dettori has secured victory in this prestigious race a remarkable eight times, including a hat-trick aboard Stradivarius between 2018 and 2020. He also left an indelible mark in the King George and Queen Elizabeth stakes at Ascot, triumphing on seven occasions.
The grand finale of Dettori’s illustrious career in British racing is set to take place at Ascot’s British Champions Day. From there, he will head across the Atlantic for the Breeders’ Cup in the United States before making his way to Australia, where he will aim for one last shot at winning the Melbourne Cup. While rumors have emerged that Dettori may continue riding next year, nothing has been confirmed, and whether he decides to hang up his boots for good or considers a return, his influence on horse racing will remain immeasurable.