Frankie Dettori to retire after 'racing's Messi' feared same plight as Cristiano Ronaldo

By Sports Desk December 17, 2022

Frankie Dettori will call time on one of racing's greatest careers next year after the Italian superstar jockey announced his retirement plans.

The 52-year-old is a two-time winner of the Derby and has been British flat racing's Champion Jockey crown three times, also enjoying a record six victories at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris.

He famously won seven out of seven races at Ascot on September 28, 1996, arguably the pinnacle of his career even if it did not contain his biggest victories.

Dettori said he wanted to "stop at the top" and revealed seeing football legend Cristiano Ronaldo fall out of favour with Manchester United and Portugal recently played a part in his thinking.

Speaking on Saturday, Dettori told ITV Racing: "Next year, 2023, will be my final professional year as a jockey. It's something I've been thinking about for a while.

"I'll be riding right through. It will be my last Guineas, last Derby, my last Royal Ascot, so on and so forth, and finish at the end of the season, it could be Champions Day [at Ascot] or Newmarket, and then probably have the final farewell as a professional rider in California at the Breeders' Cup.

"I want to stop at the top. I think I'm still in that bracket of being good, and it was difficult, but I think it's the right time.

"I'm not making comparisons, but look at Ronaldo who was playing one minute and was on the bench the next, and I don't want to end up like that.

"I don't want to end up where I'm struggling to get rides in the big races. At the moment, I still have good horses to ride, and I want to finish like that."

Dettori has won 21 British Classics and has had 14 winners at the Breeders' Cup plus 77 victories at Royal Ascot.

His first UK winner came in 1987, aboard Lizzy Hare at Goodwood, and he has since had over 3,000 winners worldwide.

According to ITV, fellow great AP McCoy compared Dettori to footballing royalty.

"He's racing's Lionel Messi, you can't teach a kid to ride like Frankie Dettori," McCoy said.

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