As Frankie Dettori celebrates his 50th birthday, leading figures from the world of racing have saluted his enduring talent:
Sir Anthony McCoy, 20-times champion National Hunt jockey
“Frankie is like Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Mike Tyson and Tiger Woods – there’s just something different about him.
“I read a quote from a great philosopher, who said ‘Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see’. That is what Frankie is like – obviously there’s a lot of talent there, but there’s also that little bit of genius in him that means he can see things faster and better than other people can.
“With the exception of Lester Piggott, he’s the best-known person in racing. A lot of people can talk the talk, but not many can walk the walk, but he has – all around the world.
“Frankie doesn’t need anyone to say how great he is. He’s a brilliant person as well as a brilliant jockey – he’s got it all.”
Aidan O’Brien, record-breaking trainer:
“Frankie is a wonderful jockey, he always has been. He’s a fabulous rider and a great fellow.”
Ed Dunlop, who teamed up with Dettori for big-race wins with the mares Snow Fairy, Ouija Board and Lailani:
“He’s been a wonderful ambassador, he’s a wonderful jockey and is a great person, There’s no-one quite like Frankie!
“He’s ridden Group One winners for us and for many other other people. And we all wish him a very happy birthday.
“He’s ridden Lailani, Ouija Board, Snow Fairy – who were all great horses for me. He’s hard to get hold of now, but we’ve loved having him riding our horses.”
American trainer Wesley Ward, who uses Dettori whenever he can, particularly at Royal Ascot, with horses like Lady Aurelia and Campanelle:
“I’m 52 and Frankie is 50 – he sure does look a lot younger than me!
“I hope he keeps going. He’s the greatest jockey in the world, that’s for sure, and has accomplished more than anyone.
“Long live the King!”
Peter Chapple-Hyam, trainer of Dettori’s first Derby winner Authorized:
“He’s a fantastic jockey who has stood the test of time.
“I think I used him as a 7lb claimer and I remember him winning a maiden on Dr Devious (in 1991).
“I was very confident Authorized was in good form going into the Derby. I suffer with panic attacks and anxiety, but the good thing going to Epsom was nobody wanted to speak to me as everyone wanted to speak to Frankie, so me and the horse could go there nice and easy.
“He’s been superb and age has certainly not stopped his ability – he’s riding better than ever.”
Ray Cochrane, Dettori’s long-time friend and former agent:
“It’s hard to believe he’s 50, although it does seem a lifetime ago when we first introduced to each other at Luca’s.
“He’s still doing well for an old boy! He’s a brilliant jockey and has been a great ambassador for the sport – he’s the best.”
Sir Michael Stoute, who has combined with Dettori to win big races all over the world:
“Frankie has a perfect physique in addition to which he is a gifted horseman with a very competitive nature. It is a good mix!”