Frankie Dettori: 3,000 reasons to celebrate on Friday nightPICTURE: Getty Images
Fantastic Frankie rides 3,000th British winner
FRANKIE DETTORI became just the sixth rider in history to ride 3,000 winners on the Flat in Britain as Predilection gave him a landmark success at Newmarket on Friday night.
In a change of tactics on the John Gosden-trained colt, Dettori took the race from the front and left his rivals for dead to win in typically emphatic fashion.
"It's special, just beautiful to do it here at Newmarket where I landed 30 years ago, I don't know what to say," said Dettori, filled with emotion and family by his side. "I purposely didn't ride all week to have the opportunity to do it here, this is my home."
Arguably the most recognisable Flat jockey on the planet, the 45-year-old joins an illustrious list that before Friday night comprised Sir Gordon Richards, Pat Eddery, Lester Piggott, Willie Carson and Doug Smith on the Flat and Sir Anthony McCoy and Richard Johnson over jumps, to have won 3,000 races in Britain.
Dettori, completing a double on the card after an earlier victory on Ghayyar, was honoured to join a list of racing greats, but vowed to strive for further winners. "I'm humble and relieved. The roar from the crowd was to rival that of July Cup day. I couldn't have put today better myself," he said.
A rollercoaster career spanning three decades took flight when Dettori rode his first winner in Britain as a 16-year-old aboard Lizzy Hare at Goodwood in 1987 and has included top-level success all over the globe, including two cherished victories in the Derby.
His 3,000th winner leaves him some distance behind Richards, the winning-most rider in Britain with 4,870 winners. However he is now just 111 behind Smith who rode 3,111 winners between 1932 and 1967.
Dettori’s feat looked unlikely in September 2012, as an acrimonious split from Godolphin after 18 successful years as lead jockey to Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai-based operation, followed by a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine, left his career on the ropes.
However, a determined Dettori returned to rebuild his career in May 2013 and was rejuvenated by a new agreement with powerful Qatar-based owners Al Shaqab Racing in July of the same year.
Two years later and riding the crest of a wave, he completed the ultimate return to the top when winning the Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 2015 on the Gosden-trained champion Golden Horn.
It was fitting that he reached the landmark on a runner trained by Gosden, with whom he has established a long-lasting relationship.
"He's made two comebacks with me," the trainer said after Predilection's win. "The second time when he was floating a bit loose. We go back a long way and it's lovely to be here tonight.
"He's a fantastic athlete, a great horseman and highly intelligent. Frankie is feeling great and he's enjoying it again, 99 per cent of the time he behaves himself.
"If he's happy and well he can continue for the next five years, if he avoids injury, as he's riding like a young man."
Dettori's 3,000th winner adds to his lengthy list of achievements in racing which includes 56 wins at Royal Ascot and 16 Classic victories in Britain, including Derby success on Authorized in 2007 and Golden Horn eight years later. This season he has amassed 50 wins, including the 2,000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes on Galileo Gold.
Galileo Gold and Frankie Dettori land the St James's Palace StakesPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Dettori has been crowned champion jockey in Britain on three occasions, including in 1994 when he recorded a tally of 233 winners, a figure only topped by Richards and Fred Archer on the Flat.
His most unbelievable achievement came in 1996, when completing a clean sweep of the races at Ascot to land his forever famous Magnificent Seven. The most extraordinary day's racing reportedly costing Britain's bookmakers a combined £40 million.
Having made clear his intention to ride on in the immediate future - vowing to ride for at least another five years back in March - he looks destined to surpass Smith’s total, which would put him behind Carson’s total of 3,828 on the all-time list.
"My next target is 3,001!" added Dettori, who rides at Newbury on Saturday. "To reach 4,000 would be very unlikely, but my next target is Doug Smith. I think that would be realistic."
WINNING-MOST JOCKEYS IN BRITAIN
|4870||Sir Gordon Richards||1921-54
|4208||Sir Anthony McCoy||1994-2015||4||4204|