Frankie Dettori is widely considered to be the best jockey Italy has ever produced. Born in Milan on December 15, 1970, he has been riding Group/Grade 1 winners all around the world for over 30 years now, so you could be forgiven for thinking that he has done it all in Flat thoroughbred horse racing.
However, there are still a few things Dettori, now in his 50s, still has left to accomplish in the saddle. With his flying dismounts after riding a winner and general charismatic showmanship, he has been one of the most entertaining attractions in and ambassadors for the sport. So, what’s left on the Dettori bucket list? Let’s take a look.
Win the July Cup
Dettori has won every Flat horse race in the UK with Group 1 status except the July Cup at Newmarket. Completing the set is definitely something that still motivates him.
It will be interesting to see if Wesley Ward’s American filly Campanelle stays in Europe for the summer after Royal Ascot. Her performance, likely under Dettori, in the Commonwealth Cup will probably determine whether she remains on that side of the pond for a crack at the July Cup, or head home to Kentucky.
Campanelle is two from three with him aboard following victories in the Queen Mary Stakes and Prix Morny over in France last year. The transatlantic raider gets both weight-for-age and a sex allowance for the July Cup could finally help Dettori to win the one top British race that has eluded him.
Complete Classic Sets in Ireland and France
Nobody has ever ridden the winner of all Classic races in the UK, Ireland, and France. Dettori already has the British set done and only needs the Irish 1000 Guineas for fillies to complete it in the Emerald Isle.
What constitutes a Classic in France is open to debate. Dettori has won the French 2000 Guineas, Prix du Jockey Club, and Prix de Diane. The latter races are their equivalent of the Epsom Derby and The Oaks.
The Grand Prix de Paris is often regarded as a French Classic because it is age-restricted. Dettori has yet to win this, the French 1000 Guineas or the Prix Royal-Oak, which is the closest thing French Flat horse racing has to the St Leger. Like the Irish equivalent, that is open to horses older than three, though.
Lift the Melbourne Cup
Dettori has spoken before of his desire to win “the race that stops a nation” in Australia. The Melbourne Cup has become a truly international event with mega prize money offer, and it is now regarded as the most valuable and prestigious staying Flat handicap in the world.
Overseas runners have a terrific recent record in the big race Down Under. Held at Flemington in the suburbs of Melbourne on the first Tuesday in November, this Cup race requires winners to have both speed and stamina.
Early favorites, according to the Melbourne Cup horse racing betting odds, include Ocean Wind and last year’s runner-up Tiger Moth. The latter is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has often chosen Dettori over the years.
Win a US Triple Crown race
Most of Dettori’s career rides have come on the turf, but he’s no stranger to dirt races. He has won valuable prizes at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and Dubai World Cup meetings, where events take place on both surfaces.
With Classic wins in most major European horse racing countries on his resume, all that is missing is victory in a US Triple Crown event. The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is by far the most famous of these age-restricted American races.
The Triple Crown stateside also includes the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Belmont Stakes in New York. Dettori has already been assured a place among the all-time great jockeys, but transatlantic success late in his career would be the icing on the cake.