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Frankie Dettori - Dubai 23.03.11

Frankie Dettori: will operate as a freelance jockey next year

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Dettori and Godolphin to go separate ways

ONE of the most successful and durable associations in the history of Flat racing is about to end after Godolphin confirmed on Sunday that Frankie Dettori will not be one of its retained riders next year.

Dettori, whose 18-year role as principal jockey to Sheikh Mohammed's operation has yielded victories in most of the world's major races, sparked speculation that his ties with Godolphin could be severed when sensationally accepting the mount on the Coolmore-owned Camelot in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

That speculation has now been proved accurate with Godolphin confirming in a statement that they felt the retainer with Dettori "was not really working".

Bookmakers reacted to the news that he will ride freelance next year by slashing his odds to become champion jockey for a fourth time.

William Hill go 20-1 (from 66) about Dettori recapturing a crown he last won in 2004, while Ladbrokes reacted even more defensively, offering  just 14-1.

David Williams, spokesman for Ladbrokes, said: "Frankie the freelance will be a potent weapon. We think it's perfectly possible that he could shoot for the moon and go all out for the title.

"He'll be the go-to guy when connections are looking for the best available jockey and we expect 2013 to be a great year for the popular Italian."

Paddy Power, who go 25-1 about Dettori becoming champion jockey, offer 6-4 that he will ride a Group 1 winner in Britain or Ireland in 2013.

Dettori's Longchamp link-up with Sheikh Mohammed's fiercest rivals reflected the sporting superstar's growing frustration at being required to share Godolphin top billing with Mickael Barzalona, who is expected to become first-choice rider for trainers Mahmood Al Zarooni and Saeed Bin Suroor when next year continuing as a retained jockey alongside Silvestre de Sousa.

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: "We have had a tremendous association with Frankie over many years. He has achieved so much on behalf of Godolphin and has made the difference between winning and losing on so many occasions in the world's biggest races.

Blue Bunting and Frankie Dettori - Newmarket Guineas Meeting 1.5.11

Blue Bunting gave Frankie Dettori two Classic wins for Godolphin

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( 

"However, Frankie is looking for a fresh challenge and we felt that the retainer was not really working so this is the best way forward. We have had many great days together and we look forward to working with Frankie in the future and hopefully enjoying more success together.

"He remains a great friend - the difference next year will be that he will not be our retained jockey and will operate as a freelance instead."

Dettori, who confirmed the split had been mutually agreed, was the man on board Godolphin's first Classic winner, Balanchine, in 1994. He subsequently became inextricably linked to most of the organisation's top horses including world champion Dubai Millennium.

"I have had 18 wonderful years," said Dettori. "Godolphin has been a major part of everything I have achieved in racing and I have loved every minute of it. I feel the time has come for a change. My position in the stable has changed a little bit and I need a new challenge.

"Sheikh Mohammed has been an unbelievable boss to me. He had the confidence to take me on board when I was young and we smashed every record together. I will be forever grateful to him for everything he has done for me and for my family."

Dettori, who turns 42 in December, added: "The whole team have been fantastic - none of it would have been possible without them."

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