Skip to main content

Franke Dettori doing his famous flying dismount at Turffontein (JC Photos).    


In an exclusive interview with BettingSites ahead of his final Royal Ascot before he retires from the saddle, legendary jockey Frankie Dettori said Cristiano Ronaldo has shown him how not to retire.

Dettori also compares his current boss, trainer John Gosden, to Jose Mourinho and reveals what it’s like to ride for the Queen at Royal Ascot, something he calls the ‘Olympics of Racing’

Ronaldo showed me how I don’t want to retire, I want to go out at the top

Frankie Dettori: I’d rather go out at the top. Look at Cristiano Ronaldo. In his last few games for Manchester United as a player, before he went to Saudi Arabia, he was probably not as excited or as on top of his game as he was at Man Utd in his glory days, or even his first season returning to Old Trafford. I wouldn’t want to end like that.

You are only one fall away from stopping, and at my age when I do fall, I break. In the old days I used to have 1200 rides a year, now it’s probably 250. The more rides, the more chance you have of falling off.

I am still unsure exactly where the curtain will come down on my career but I can say for certain that my last rides in Britain will be on October 21 at Ascot on British Champions Day. Come what may, that’s me done in Europe.

Which continent and whether I actually finish at the Breeders’ Cup in Los Angeles, Melbourne Cup or Japan Cup, I am not sure.

Riding for John Gosden is like playing for Jose Mourinho

FD: We don’t have to say much. He doesn’t overwork me, he gives me confidence when I need it and gives me a kick up the backside when I need it. He is a good manager of people, a bit like José Mourinho was in his heyday.

It was an honour to ride for the Queen – there was enormous pride in riding for her.

FD: The Queen was a wonderful patron of the meeting. When you met her in the paddock or on the winners’ podium you knew instantly that she understands everything and what it means to her and the audience.

It was always a tremendous honour to ride for Her Majesty. The thrill was always the same, there was enormous pride riding for her.

Royal Ascot is the Olympics of racing – it’s the biggest week of my year

FD: Royal Ascot is my favourite place in the world without question. It is like the Olympics of racing, but the difference is it takes place every year. I love everything about Royal Ascot but in the week before I always get the same combination of nerves and excitement.

It is the biggest and best week of my year, I know that I come alive there and I’m in a different zone. It lifts me every time and this year will be so special because it will be my last ever Royal Ascot.

It has been lucky for me in the past and I have enjoyed considerable success. I feel comfortable, positive and excited every time I go. I can’t believe this year will be the last time ever.

Without doubt it is five of the best days’ racing in the world with the best horses on show. Also, the tradition, the Royal procession, everyone dressing up in top hats and tails.

It is always nice to get the first winner on the board and you can chill out. One on the board early doors and everything will flow. If you go to the last day without a winner then all of a sudden you can panic a bit and don’t ride the way you should.