Never a dull moment with Dettori

Many brilliant sportsmen and sportswomen have come and gone since Frankie Dettori first took to the saddle in Britain nearly 30 years ago.

Frankie Dettori celebrates his 3000th British winner

In that time Dettori, 45, has become the most best known exponent of the Sport of Kings. Thanks to his exploits on the Flat and his natural charm and feel-good factor, the Italian has endeared himself to the racing public and beyond.

His trademark flying dismount is known throughout the land and though he prefers to save it for special moments, racegoers expect it every time he has a winner. There is always a groan of disappointment when he dismounts in the normal way.

What he has achieved in the saddle has been phenomenal while his actions off the track have also ensured he has stayed in the nation's conscience for all that time.

Married with five children, the 45-year-old is a devoted family man but is also public property. His numerous television appearances, most notably as a team captain on the BBC's Question Of Sport, have seen to that.

Little did the unsuspecting public know that when the 16-year-old son of top Italian jockey Gianfranco Dettori rode his first winner in July 1987, it would be the first of 3,000 in Britain plus many more in all corners of the globe.

Under the wing of his compatriot Luca Cumani, Dettori's fledgling career blossomed despite an odd blip or two.

Just a year after an indiscretion for possessing a small amount of cocaine in 1993, he had his first British Classic winner and became champion jockey for the first of three occasions.

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By this time he had also been appointed retained jockey to Sheikh Mohammed. That was the beginning of his long and amazingly successful relationship with Godolphin that finally ended rather acrimoniously in 2012.

Dettori officially transcended racing and grabbed the headlines came on Saturday, September 28, 1996, when he rode all seven winners at Ascot. The feat was dubbed the 'Magnificent Seven' and will never be forgotten by punters and bookmakers alike. The Frankie factor kicked in that day and is part of racing folklore.

He was in the news again on June 1, 2000, when he was lucky to escape with his life in a plane crash at Newmarket. Dettori only survived after being pulled clear of the flaming wreckage by his friend and colleague Ray Cochrane.

Once back in the saddle, his career continued to flourish but there was still one glaring omission from his CV and that was the Derby. He managed to put that particular record straight at the 15th attempt in 2007 when guiding Authorized to glory.

And for good measure, he won it again, on Golden Horn, in 2015.

In between time, Dettori had to rebuild his career after he was suspended for six months after testing positive for cocaine at Longchamp in September 2012.

For many that would have been the end, but not for Dettori. Just a month after his return, he was appointed retained rider to owner Sheikh Joaan Al Thani, of Al Shaqab Racing.

A broken ankle that cost him the ride on Treve, starting with the Arc in 2013, was a blow, but not a knockout one.

He also teamed up with former boss John Gosden at the start of 2015 and that proved a crucial turning point as epitomised with Derby and Arc wins on Golden Horn.

His association with American trainer Wesley Ward has also proved lucrative, especially at Royal Ascot with victories on Undrafted in 2015 and Lady Aurelia this year as he celebrated by kissing his good friend in full view of the cameras.

With Dettori there is never a dull moment.

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