From Markofdistinction to Enable and so many in between

By Sports Desk October 20, 2023

Frankie Dettori partnered thousands of winners over the years and much argument can be had about his finest performances in the saddle. We look at 12 of his most memorable victories:

Markofdistinction, Queen Elizabeth II, Ascot, 1990

Dettori’s first winner at the highest level was aptly trained by his mentor, Luca Cumani. The rider produced his mount two furlongs out after settling in behind early on and hit the front with a furlong still to run. He hung a bit in the finish, but Dettori proved strong enough in the plate to hold on and claim the victory.

Lochsong, Prix de l’Abbaye, Longchamp, 1994

Always a headstrong individual, Lochsong knew no other way of running than blasting out of the stalls and trying to make all – a quality which suited Dettori’s excellent front-running skills. With something to prove after finishing last in the Nunthorpe at York, Dettori let his mount rocket to the front and he never saw another horse as she strolled home by five lengths.

Barathea, Breeders’ Cup Mile, Churchill Downs, 1994.

Hardly the most obvious of challengers after a largely indifferent season, Dettori also started from stall one aboard the Cumani-trained colt. However, he made the direct route pay as tracked the leaders hard against the rail before switching to the outside and galvanising Sheikh Mohammed’s Barathea to a clear-cut victory over Johann Quatz.

Fujiyama Crest, Gordon Carter Handicap, Ascot, 1996

The horse that sealed Dettori’s superstar status and propelled him beyond the confines of the racing world. Fujiyama Crest gave his all under the Italian, making every yard of the running before clinging on by a neck to seal the rider’s ‘Magnificent Seven’. Dettori never forgot the gelding’s contribution to his legend and when his racing days were over, he bought Fujiyama Crest to see out his days in a paddock at his home.

Dubai Millennium, Dubai World Cup, Nad Al Sheba, 2000

Orginally named Yaazer, Sheikh Mohammed renamed the Seeking The Gold colt Dubai Millennium when his potential became clear. The 2000 Dubai World Cup was his ultimate target from the moment he took on his new moniker and the colt fulfilled his destiny when Dettori took him to the front after just a furlong and he powered home by six lengths, to rapturous cheers from the crowd.

Fantastic Light, Irish Champion Stakes, Leopardstown, 2001

A rematch of Fantastic Light’s King George battle with Galileo ended in a thrilling finish up the straight. The pair raced stride for stride throughout before they knuckled down to slug it out in the final furlong, with Galileo looking certain to edge it only for Fantastic Light to respond to the Dettori drive and claim the prize.

Scorpion, St Leger, Doncaster, 2005

Dettori’s decision to partner the Coolmore-owned favourite proved controversial, with the Italian apologising to Sheikh Mohammed for taking the rival ride in the aftermath. In atrocious conditions, the 10-11 shot made all, with Dettori having to survive a slight scare as Scorpion jinked into the rail inside the final furlong, but nevertheless running out a decisive victor.

Authorized, Investec Derby, Epsom, 2007

Dettori looked destined to never win the blue riband of British Flat racing after 14 unsuccessful attempts, but Peter Chapple-Hyam’s colt was his best chance yet. Slowly away and further back than ideal, Dettori exercised patience and let his mount work his way into contention before joining the issue two furlongs out and powering away by five lengths.

Raven’s Pass, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Santa Anita, 2008

Jimmy Fortune was jocked off in favour of Dettori as the John Gosden-trained colt became the first British winner of one of America’s biggest races. Held up early on, Dettori switched wide at the top of the straight and Raven’s Pass powered down the outside to lead a furlong out and record a famous victory.

Golden Horn, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Longchamp, 2015

The colt who put Dettori back in the big time. The pair had enjoyed a stunning season, with just one blip, at York, but the crowning moment undoubtedly came in France. The masterful Dettori soon got his mount in the best possible position from an unfavourable draw and while it briefly looked at one stage that Treve might swoop to conquer, Dettori had got it right again and his mount stayed on in tremendous fashion. Majestic.

Enable, King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Ascot, 2019

Enable defined three seasons for Dettori and her victory over Crystal Ocean after a titanic battle up the Ascot straight is definitely one for the highlight reel. The pair went toe to toe over the final two furlongs, with Dettori demonstrating his mastery in the saddle as he put down his whip and relied on hands and heels to snatch a narrow verdict over an incredibly worthy adversary. The mare added a record third triumph the following year.

Stradivarius, Gold Cup, Royal Ascot, 2020

Not a vintage renewal by any means, but Stradivarius was another cornerstone of the Dettori-Gosden partnership renaissance. Heavy rain on raceday morning appeared likely to impact on Stradivarius’ chance of a Gold Cup hat-trick, but Dettori rode with supreme confidence and when he popped the question, Stradivarius sprinted clear to win by 10 lengths – with the duo returning to near silence and empty stands due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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