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Frankie Dettori to retire: Legendary jockey to quit at end of 2023 season with Breeders' Cup finale

Frankie Dettori will call time on his riding career after the 2023 Breeders' Cup having competed at the top level of British and international racing for over 35 years; Dettori to celebrate final season around the world

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Current champion jockey William Buick has paid a touching tribute to Frankie Dettori ahead of his retirement next year, decribing him as a 'god' and 'a leader' in the weighing room.

Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori has announced his plans to retire from racing at the end of the 2023 Flat season, with a final farewell at the Breeders’ Cup.

For many years, Dettori has been the sport's most famous face, competing at the top of his game in Britain and on the global stage for a remarkable 35 seasons.

He heads into his final year with a mind-blowing 282 Group and Grade One victories, including 21 British Classic successes.

Welsh Grand National on Sky Sports Racing!
Welsh Grand National on Sky Sports Racing!

Don't miss Welsh racing's seasonal highlight with the Welsh Grand National from Chepstow on December 27, live on Sky Sports Racing.

Speaking to ITV, Dettori 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."

Frankie Dettori performs his trademark flying dismount after victory on Emily Upjohn at Ascot
Image: Dettori performs his trademark flying dismount after victory on Emily Upjohn at Ascot

'I don't want to end up like Ronaldo… on the bench'

Dettori's place in the pantheon of the sport's greatest jockeys has long since been assured, with his achievements far too many to mention.

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He has been associated with numerous equine greats, including dual Arc heroine Enable, the mighty stayer Stradivarius and two Derby winners in Authorized and Golden Horn.

Dettori insists the decision to call it a day is not one he has taken lightly.

"It is a very difficult decision because my heart wants to carry on riding, but I have had to use my brain and I've just turned 52 and next year I'll be 53," he continued.

"I want to be competitive enough to do my owners and my horses justice next year and I think I'm still in that bracket of being good. It was difficult, but it is the right time.

"I spoke to my dad at length. My dad stopped at 51, he is very supporting and I also had to speak to my wife and children who are delighted because they have barely seen me for 35 years!

Frankie Dettori's career in numbers!

Group and Grade One wins - 282

British wins - 3,336

British Classics - 21

British champion jockey - 3 (1994, 1995, 2004)

Derby wins - 2 (2007 & 2015)

"I've been thinking about it for a few weeks and I've decided with the firepower I have next year and the horses I have to ride I can finish my career on a big note. Fingers crossed I stay in one piece and we'll give it a good go next year.

"Look at Ronaldo, one day he was playing and he's on the bench the next. I don't want to end up like that and 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."

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Sky Sports Racing's Alex Hammond and Jamie Lynch react to the bombshell news that Frankie Dettori will call time on his riding career at the end of 2023.

'Racing's Lionel Messi going out at the top'

Some of racing's biggest names have paid a touching tribute to Dettori's skill and longevity, with former multiple champion jumps jockey AP McCoy praising the 52-year-old for "going out at the top".

McCoy said: "The hardest thing is knowing when to stop. It's about beating the clock - and Frankie is going out at the top. He's racing's Lionel Messi - you can't teach a kid to ride like Frankie Dettori."

Trainer Stuart Williams said: "Frankie is a natural showman and brilliant ambassador for racing, but we shouldn't let those great things detract from what a supreme talent he is in the saddle.

"Watching him riding in full flight is simply poetry in motion, as stylish as anyone who has ever graced the Turf."

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