Frankie Dettori and John Gosden’s relationship stretches back to the mid 1990s, when the rider was attached to Stanley House Stables before joining the Godolphin team and having his career fired into the stratosphere. It was Gosden who helped Dettori return from the wilderness after his drugs ban and the duo have enjoyed remarkable success since renewing their partnership. We look back at five horses who arguably defined the second incarnation of the Dettori-Gosden alliance:
The 2015 Derby hero certainly turbo-charged the trainer and jockey reunion with his three-and-a-half-length success over stablemate Jack Hobbs at Epsom. Golden Horn went on to land the Eclipse under a trademark Dettori front-running ride and while disappointment followed with a narrow defeat in the International at York, he redeemed himself in the Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, with Dettori particularly brilliant in the latter.
A slightly frustrating 2017 campaign ended in Champion Stakes glory for Cracksman. A beaten favourite in the Derby at Epsom, he was just edged out in the Irish equivalent but after a couple of Group Two wins, he finally came good in style at the top level at Ascot. Cracksman was perhaps not the most straightforward, but that did not stop him winning two more Group Ones on the way to his swansong success in the 2018 Champion Stakes, where he easily accounted for Crystal Ocean by six lengths with Dettori celebrating long before the line.
Dettori’s “horse of a lifetime”, Enable brought immeasurable joy – and success – for the team, with her amazing 19-race career yielding 15 victories in total, including the Epsom and Irish Oaks, two Yorkshire Oaks, a record three King Georges and a Breeders’ Cup Turf. However, her two Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe wins provided the pinnacle of her career, with success as Chantilly in 2017 followed by glory back at the race’s traditional home of ParisLongchamp the following year. Bidding for a hat-trick in 2019, Dettori was devastated when Waldgeist outstayed Enable on deep ground while a fourth attempt on even heavier conditions again ended in heartbreaking defeat.
Palace Pier proved a miling revelation, landing the 2020 St James’s Palace Stakes on his first try in Group One company before adding four more top-level prizes before retirement. Beaten just twice in an 11-race career, Palace Pier was crowned champion three-year-old and champion older horse in 2021. In his final start, he was defeated a neck by Baaeed, with Gosden not entirely satisfied with Dettori’s ride saying: “Frankie said the pace was slow – it was too slow. He regrets not committing earlier. There was too much looking around – and he knows that”.
Although he fell short at Ascot last week, Dettori and Gosden can surely look back on Stradivarius’ career with immense satisfaction. Untouchable in the staying division during 2018 and 2019, Dettori and Stradivarius secured £1million bonuses in both seasons by winning the Yorkshire, Ascot, Goodwood and Lonsdale Cups. Stradivarius of course added a third Royal Ascot win in 2020, before twice failing in his bid for a fourth. He did not endure such disappointment at Goodwood though, where he secured an unequalled four Goodwood Cups, with Dettori on board for all but a handful of his 34 career starts.