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Frankie Dettori wins just hours after shock split from Gosden stable – and vows to ride on

Frankie Dettori says he plans to drive until at least the end of the 2023 Flat season, as the shockwaves caused by his breakup with John and Thady Gosden’s stable spread during the race.

News of the professional divorce came out Friday night, but with the impeccable timing that has characterized Dettori’s 35-year career, the Italian won on his only ride at Newmarket on Saturday, when Ralph Beckett-trained Lezoo made it onto the list. placed Maureen Brittain Memorial landed. Empress Stakes.

The crowd, who had applauded Dettori in the paddock, welcomed him enthusiastically on his return to the winner’s space and were treated to the 51-year-old jockey’s signature flying dismount – a celebration normally limited to Group 1 race wins. .

Frankie Dettori (above) says he plans to ride until at least the end of the 2023 Flat season

Frankie Dettori (above) says he plans to ride until at least the end of the 2023 Flat season

On Saturday, it turned out to be an action laced with symbolism – a response that said, ‘Don’t write me off’. Dettori said, “I’m not retiring. I definitely plan to ride this year and next year and after that I don’t know.

“I’ll be riding in the Derby tomorrow in Istanbul. I’ll be banned for most of next week, but the week after that I’ll be in the German Derby. Then I’ll go to America for Charlie Appleby and have a few weekends in Belmont and possibly Saratoga, so I’ll be pretty busy for the next month.

“So if you don’t see me driving, it’s not because I’m retiring, it’s because I’m abroad.

“It’s a fresh start and we’ll take it step by step. I’ll be back in King George week and then on to (Glorious) Goodwood.

The 51-year-old showed off his signature flying jump at Royal Ascot last week

The 51-year-old showed off his signature flying jump at Royal Ascot last week

“Me and John had a meeting yesterday and we decided to give each other a break – a sabbatical. We are still good friends. I’ll be forever grateful for what John has done for me in the past, but right now we’ve decided it’s better for us to be apart.”

The term sabbatical was also used by Gosden in his statement after meeting Dettori on Friday.

But it’s hard to find anyone who believes normal relationships will resume after the heads are cleared, and Dettori is reportedly devastated.

When predictions were made at the start of the season, the idea of ​​a Dettori-Gosden split six days after Royal Ascot wouldn’t have been on the most powerful radars.

Their last couple of seasons together have produced some memorable moments, including two wins in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe with wonder mare Enable, a Derby and another Arc with Golden Horn and three Ascot Gold Cups with Stradivarius.

Dettori's break with John and Thady Gosden's stable sent shockwaves through racing

Dettori’s break with John and Thady Gosden’s stable sent shockwaves through racing

But as we approach key competitions, including Newmarket’s July Gathering, Ascot’s King George Match and Glorious Goodwood, the Gosdens are looking for new jockeys for the likes of Emily Upjohn, Inspiral and Stradivarius, and Dettori has possibly the toughest crossroads of his career reaches.

It’s not a brand new start, but most of Dettori’s eggs have been in one basket.

Even for a three-time champion jockey widely hailed as one of the greatest athletes of all time, it poses a test of his desire as he tries to forge new alliances.

Dettori has picked up a number of helpful mounts from Aidan O’Brien in recent seasons, including classic wins with Mother Earth (1,000 Guineas) and Snowfall (Oaks) last year. But in 2021, Irish champions coach Dettori handed over just 10 rides in Britain. It was the Gosden stable that supplied 121 of its 194 British rides, as well as 31 of its 41 domestic winners and a conveyor belt of ammunition for big races.

Trainer John Gosden was particularly unhappy with Stradivarius' progress in the Ascot Gold Cup

Trainer John Gosden was particularly unhappy with Stradivarius’ progress in the Ascot Gold Cup

Since his longtime agent Ray Cochrane retired, Dettori has booked his own rides because his portfolio of mounts was so manageable because he chose them carefully, focusing on quality with a part-time rider’s schedule compared to his peers.

Without Gosden’s support, that won’t be so easy, especially when weighed against Dettori’s extensive commercial commitments off the track.

How much that distraction played into Dettori’s separation from the Gosden operation can only be speculated, but there have been suggestions of simmering behind-the-scenes tensions surfacing during the royal meeting.

When Gosden mentioned Dettori’s trip to Italy for a wedding the week before Royal Ascot, it was hard not to interpret it as a comment about the Italian’s commitment to the cause a week before the biggest game of the season.

When things go wrong on the track, like last week – especially during the tracked ride on Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup – something snaps.

Gosden has said he will not hire a stable jockey for the remainder of this season and that could see a series of auditions for the rest of the year, with Hollie Doyle and David Egan potential candidates. Dettori, meanwhile, hopes that the big hurrahs aren’t all behind him.

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