Superstar jockey Frankie Dettori confirmed that he will depart the sport in 2023, bringing an end to an iconic 38-year career in the saddle.
The Italian – born in Milan but based in the UK for the majority of his professional career – will embark on a 10-week trip to the US, riding at the 2023 Breeders Cup in Santa Anna, California.
Dettori will then return to the UK next year, planning to compete in the Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot, one of the many UK racecourses where his endeavours earned him status as a household name.
In a video released on his Twitter page, Dettori informed racing fans: “As you know next year is going to be my last year, 2023, so I want all of you to give me one last push.
“I will spend the winter in California and I’ll be back here in the spring in the UK, and it will be my last farewell.”
The end of a beautiful chapter begins.
Big thank you for all your kind messages.
One. Last. Push. pic.twitter.com/43T4gRIx7h
— Frankie Dettori (@FrankieDettori) December 17, 2022
Becoming a stable jockey in 1985 and securing his first win one year later, Dettori went on to win 500 Group races, of which 20 were English classics.
He went on to become a British flat racing Champion Jockey three times in 1993, 1994 and 2004, whilst also finding success in Ireland, France, the US, Germany and the Middle East, among other countries.
Although his career was marred by a six-month ban in 2015 after failing a drugs test, Dettori departs racing with a strong legacy, as well as leaving his impact on wagering as a regular choice on punters bet slips throughout the UK and abroad.
The jockey’s impact on the sport, and subsequently on the betting industry, was not lost on bookmakers, as noted by Coral PR Executive Harry Aitkenhead following the 2019 Qatar Prix De L’Arc.
Aitkenhead asserted that the fact Dettori was riding favourite Enable was ‘definitely’ a factor behind many punters’ decision to back the horse, which ultimately finished in second place.
Perhaps his most noteworthy achievement, which gained him considerable fame across racing, betting and the general sporting world, was his blockbuster performance at the British Champions Day at Ascot in 1996, winning all seven races – he later came close to doing this again in 2019.
In an exclusive interview with the Racing Post, Dettori said: “I’ve been facing the facts,” said Dettori. “As I started to get closer to turning 52, it kind of hit me. I started asking myself, how far do you want to go?
“Making the announcement is the first step – and I think it’s only fair that the public knows what I’m planning because I want what comes next to be a celebration. I really want to give it one last go.
“It will be emotional, and I know there are going to be lots of tears, but it’s also going to be great because I want it to be great. What did Michael Jordan say? ‘Let’s enjoy the last dance.’ This is now my last dance.”
Meanwhile, in addition to Dettori, Gold Cup and Grand National-winning jockey Davy Russell also announced this weekend that he would be stepping down from the saddle.
Russell smashed the bookies in 2018 and 2019 riding Tiger Roll to consecutive Grand National victories, a rare feat in the sport, whilst also winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2014.
Having overcome severe adversity with a fall at Limerick in 2020 that caused significant neck damage, Davey returned to the saddle in September 2021. After racing for a further 15 months, he will now transition into a training role.
“I have five children and plenty of work to do,” he told BBC Sport. “I’d love the romance of training, but to start back at zero at 43 years of age would be difficult.
“It would depend on if the kids wanted to ride in point to points or whatever in 10 years’ time, that I might train a few point to pointers or whatever.”