No joy for Dettori as farewell tour stops off at Down Royal

Frankie Dettori paid his first ever visit to Down Royal on Friday evening but was out of luck on his two rides.

Dettori, who is retiring at the end of the year, is planning on visiting as many different courses as he can before he finally hangs up his saddle.

Fresh from a successful visit to Hungary recently, this weekend he is closer to home for the Irish Champions Festival which meant he was able to stop off in Northern Ireland beforehand.

Dettori could not have dreamt for his farewell season to have gone much better as he has already won the 2000 Guineas on Chaldean, the Gold Cup at Ascot on Courage Mon Ami and the Juddmonte International on Mostahdaf among many other big races.

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However he was unable to give the bumper crowd the result many were after as No Thanks faded into third behind Noel Meade’s Crassus in the Grant Thornton Ulster Cesarewitch Handicap and Evening’s Empire could only finish seventh to God Knows in the Children’s Heartbeat Trust Handicap.

“This is my first time (riding here) – obviously, as you know this is my last year. I tried to reach out to places I haven’t been before,” he said.

Dettori finished third on his first ride, No Thanks
Dettori finished third on his first ride, No Thanks (Michael Graham/PA)

“Barney (Curley) took me to Northern Ireland and I did sightseeing in Enniskillen and Omagh. I think up there today he will be chuckling to himself that I am riding here!

“I like new challenges and this is my farewell tour.

“Now that I don’t have to worry about keeping my job, I am much more relaxed and I guess the horses feel it. I’m getting some good results.

“I’ve had an amazing career and I’m going to miss it.”

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Speaking of the timing of the decision he said: “I feel this is the right time to stop at the top. I was watching the World Cup last year and Ronaldo, one of the best players in the world, was on the bench. That could happen to me.

“I’ve so much to look forward to. I’d like to travel the world a bit – I’ve seen horses and racecourses, but I haven’t seen much else. So some time for me and my wife to explore the world a little bit.

“No time to reflect yet, just keep going!”

After racing Dettori was taking part in an event with racegoers who were due to be regaled with stories from his illustrious career.

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