FRANKIE DETTORI, one of the greatest jockeys of all time, will retire at the end of the 2023 season.
The legendary Italian, 52, will hang up his riding boots after the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita next November after a global farewell tour.
He has won an incredible 282 Group 1 races and over 20 British Classics during a glittering career.
He has spent much of his 35-year career making headlines and his incredible ‘Magnificent Seven’ at Ascot in 1996 made him a household name.
Frankie Dettori’s larger than life personality has lit up the sport for decades, while dramas off the racecourse have only boosted his celebrity status.
He survived a plane crash, starred on dozens of TV shows and last year released his own movie – but above all he is one of the finest jockeys in the history of the sport.
Announcing his decision on ITV, he said: “It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. This is going to be my finale next year.
“I’m riding Boxing Day in Santa Anita and planning to spend about 10 weeks in California and then I’ll make my way back, with Dubai and Saudi in between, to start the season in Newmarket.
“I’ll be riding right through and it’ll be my last Guineas, my last Derby, my last Royal Ascot and so on.
“Then I’ll have the final farewell at the Breeders’ Cup.”
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Tributes have already started pouring in from fans and Dettori’s colleagues on social media.
The 20-time champion jumps jockey AP McCoy said: “Frankie Dettori is riding’s Lionel Messi. You can’t teach a kid to ride like Frankie.”
“The hardest thing is knowing when to stop. He is going out at the top.”
One fan wrote: “Oh Frankie, what a legend. We are all going to miss you so much.”
Another said: “Frankie is going to leave a huge void. He has done so much for the sport.”
While another posted: “Thank you so much for the memories, racing will not be the same without you.”
Dettori, who celebrated his 52nd birthday on Thursday, added: “My heart wants to carry on riding but I have to use my brain.
“I’ve just turned 52 and next year I’m going to be 53. I want to stop at the top.
“Ronaldo was playing one minute and on the bench the next. I don’t want to end up like that.
“I want to be competitive enough to do justice to myself, my owners and my horses next year. It has been difficult but I think it’s the right time.”
More to follow…
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