On Saturday April 25th, 2015, horse racing said goodbye to its one true legend of national hunt racing from the modern era when AP McCoy decided to call time on his glittering career.
After 4348 winners and 20 successive championships, McCoy decided to hang up his boots once and for all. It was a decision he found hard to make, but he wanted to quit at the top and that he achieved.
With his retirement, horse racing, both flat and national hunt was left without a true charismatic rider and someone who could bring the crowds flocking back to the courses. There are a number of very good jockeys around but none with any true flair and charisma.
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A perfect example is Ryan Moore, probably the best jockey riding anywhere in the world, but with the charisma of a week old egg mayonnaise sandwich.
There was a big void left in racing, and the sport urgently needed someone to come along and fill that hole. Was there anybody out there who could come to racing’s rescue?
You bet there was. Lanfranco Dettori. Frankie burst onto the racing scene in 1990 as a twenty-year-old, and his first major success was in riding Lammtarra to victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1995, and in the following year 1996, he rode his magnificent seven winners in a day at Ascot.
The next couple of decades were full of major triumphs for Dettori but things started to go wrong around 2010 when the winners started to dry up and Dettori started making headline news, but for all the wrong reasons.
The problems started to mount for Dettori and finally in 2012 it was announced that his retainer with Sheik Mohammed and the Godolphin racing outfit would not be renewed in 2013.
In November 2012, he failed a drugs test while riding in France and in the following December he was banned for six months after being found guilty of using a prohibited substance, believed to be cocaine.
Rebuilding his reputation
Dettori served his banned and when he returned to race riding he signed a deal in June 2013 to become the retained jockey for Sheikh Joaan Al Thani.
The following couple of years saw Dettori ride more and more winners, but he didn’t really hit the headlines until the spring and summer of this year, when after renewing an old association with trainer John Gosden he earned the ride on the three-year-old colt Golden Horn.
The partnership soon struck gold, as they won the Dante Stakes at York, The Epsom Derby and the Coral Eclipse at Sandown Park.
Frankie Dettori was now truly back in the big time and added to his successes on Golden Horn he also rode his 50th winner at the Royal Ascot meeting.
Horse racing needs a charismatic person to put racing on the back pages of the newspapers and they could not have chosen a better person to do it for them. Dettori is loved by the racing public and he is an entertainer and he will bring the public back to the racecourses in their droves.
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