As one of the most recognisable and beaming faces in racing, Frankie Dettori stands almost alone in equalling his unbridled success in the sport with his popularity.
So in unveiling the 45-year-old jockey as a new brand ambassador for Ladbrokes, the bookmaker’s Marketing Director, Dan Staples, was naturally delighted:
“Frankie has been the biggest name in the sport for two decades. He is pure box office and we’re delighted that he’s joining Ladbrokes as our ambassador. His sporting passion for everything from Ascot to Arsenal is infectious and makes him stand out as the ultimate fit for our brand,” Staples said.
To help celebrate the partnership, Ladbrokes News have collected five facts about the Italian not everybody may know:
1) A teenage ton
Having arrived in the UK to ride for trainer Luca Cumani in 1985, Dettori became the first jockey since Lester Piggott to ride 100 winners in a season as a teenager.
Frankie accomplished the feat in 1990, his third season in the GB Flat arena, and went on to have 141 winners at a strike rate of 20% that year.
2) Magnificent Seven
Without doubt the most iconic moment in Frankie’s career came in 1996 at Ascot where, on Champions Day, he rode all seven winners on the day’s card.
No jockey had managed the feat before. Nobody has matched it since. At the time, even the jockey himself didn’t think it possible.
“I could have an each-way chance in the first, and I may win the third,” he had said on Champions Day morning. Some hours later he had racked up a seven-fold with cumulative odds of 25,051/1 that cost the collective betting industry over £30m.
3) 2015’s renaissance
After losing his job as the retained jockey for the prodigious Godolphin stable in 2012, a position he had held for 18 years, Dettori stormed back to prominence with a season for the ages last year.
He rode winners at a higher strike rate than any of the previous four seasons and dealt almost exclusively in big-race triumphs.
On John Gosden’s Golden Horn alone he claimed the Epsom Derby, Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and Arc. In total he won almost £5m in prize money and ended the season on top of Longines’ World’s Best Jockey rankings.
4) 2004, the peak of his powers
Although raking in the most prize money of his career last year, it didn’t actually pay to follow Frankie from a punting point of view.
In 2004 Dettori’s success was of huge benefit to the public. His 195 winners handed him £4.6m-worth of prize money – £300k less than his 2015 haul – but would have handed punters £83.03 of profit had they backed each of his runners with a £1 stake.
5) Taking on the Big Brother house
During a suspension from racing, Dettori entered the famous Big Brother house. He was the first celebrity through the front doors on launch night and left 21 days later to finish seventh overall.
Across the entire competition, Dettori was the only participant not to receive a nomination from his fellow housemates.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.