Before Frankie Dettori’s Indian summer with John Gosden, his best days in the saddle were when teaming up with Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
For the nostalgists, the fact the two have linked up again in recent years on the odd occasion has been pleasing to see and has brought back memories of some great occasions.
Dettori – who is celebrating his 50th birthday – rode many modern greats of the Turf for Bin Suroor – names such as Daylami, Dubawi, Doyen, Lammtarra, Sakhee and of course Dubai Millennium.
The latter met with just one defeat in 10 career outings, in the 1999 Derby, yet he went on to win the Prix Jacques le Marois, Dubai World Cup on dirt and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, in which he was ridden by Jerry Bailey as Dettori was recuperating from the injuries suffered in the plane crash that claimed the life of pilot Patrick Mackey in 2000.
As the two men are of a similar age, Bin Suroor felt their partnership was more like a friendship and made travelling the world an enjoyable experience.
“I’m only a couple of years older than him and we’ve always been good friends since Godolphin started 26 years ago and neither of us spoke that good English at the time,” said Bin Suroor.
“He’s a great man and a wonderful jockey – one of the best in history. He has done so many good things for racing worldwide.
“We would travel all over the world together and everyone wanted to speak to him. He always had time for them. Pictures at airports, train stations and in restaurants.
“He rode so many big winners for me and he’s still doing it all now, he’s still at the top of the tree. He is what you need for racing – people love him everywhere.
“Wherever you go, Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, America everyone loves him.”
As it often the case with the world’s best in any sport, it has been said that the bigger the event, the better Dettori rides and Bin Suroor agrees.
“Because we are friends the winners together mean more. He thrived in the biggest races, they bring the best out of him,” he said.
“Daylami would have been our best together, we loved him and he’s my favourite horse. He won all over the world.
“I remember before the Breeders’ Cup in 1999 I told everyone before the race he could not get beaten, which was stupid really. Thankfully he won. Frankie gave him a good ride.
“He’s an amazing jockey, very rare. You can hear the crowds shouting for him, not the horses!”
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