The British racing scene, and by extension the country’s bookmakers, were stunned into silence by the news that iconic jockey Frankie Dettori will retire from the saddle in 2023.
As British betslips look set to lose a familiar face after nearly 40 years on the racecourses, how important has the Italian maestro been for both racing and wagering, and who could take his place as a punters’ favourite?
SBC: Frankie Dettori has been a staple of the international horse racing scene. How significant has his career been for bookmakers?
Chad Yeomans, Global Communications and PR Lead, Betway: Frankie Dettori is a once in a lifetime character, who has promoted the sport of Horse Racing through his exceptional skill and charming charisma.
I think every punter and bookmaker knows about Frankie’s magnificent day at Ascot in September 1996 and still to this day, punters look to side with Frankie at all of the major festivals. While his talent and personality will be missed from the game, I know our trading team won’t mind not having the stress of Frankie’s multiples running up at Royal Ascot, Goodwood and the like!
He’s going to have a very popular final year; he’ll no doubt be cherry picking his rides and be wanting more Group 1 success before he retires, so he could yet land one final blow on bookies before he bows out!
SBC: With the departure of one of racing’s most prominent male jockeys, could this leave room for a female star to take his place and are there any emerging candidates on your customers’ betslips?
Barry Orr, Head of Horse Racing PR, Betfair: Frankie is the only Horseracing personality who transcends the sport, so he will be sorely missed by the sport and its promoters but if there is one jockey who can step into the breach and take up his mantle, that’s Hollie Doyle.
Not only is she a fantastic jockey but she is very personable and a good public speaker. She is also favourite to replace him as stable jockey to the Newmarket powerhouse stable of John and Thady Gosden and one of the top three in the betting to be Champion jockey in 2023.
SBC: Are there any up-and-coming jockeys who have attracted your customers’ interest over the past year? Could these selections fill the gap Frankie Dettori will leave?
Paul Binfield, Journalist, Paddy Power: Frankie’s retirement is a huge gap for any more established or up-and-coming jockey to fill – his mounts at any of the major Festivals such as Royal Ascot receive tremendous attention from not only racing fans, but also the casual racegoer with his name one of the only ones that the latter category actually recognise and those mounts can have the bookies tremendously anxious, especially if he enjoys a winner or two with the multiple liabilities racking up!
I’d imagine his Classic mounts and anything that he rides at the Royal extravaganza or all year even will be even more significant this coming season with punters thinking that trainers will dearly be wanting to give the charismatic Italian a winner in any particular given event as it’s his last hurrah.
Among the more established pilots when he actually hangs up his illustrious boots William Buick, Tom Marquand, Hollie Doyle and James Doyle are some of the more obvious names that we expect to fill the mantle and, of course, Oisin Murphy will be back this next season.
But among the up-and-coming less obvious riders, names to look out for include Benoit De La Sayette, Harry Davies and Cieren Fallon with all three of these fine young horsemen receiving rave reviews from certain connections and sections of the media.
It will be fascinating to see just who does take up the reins – watch this space!