Frankie Dettori
Frankie Dettori

Frankie Dettori

(Image : CNN)

“We haven’t seen the last of Senor Dettori”

When Godolphin’s star jockey, Frankie Dettori took the ride on the opposition Coolmore’sCamelot in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr.1) a fortnight back, we thought we’d struck a new angle in predicting a rift between jockey and employer was unavoidable, and that the winds were “certainly a changin”. Yet someone out there even accused us of “sour grapes”, though what that had to do with the battle between Coolmore and Godolphin, we don’t know.

The truth is, you didn’t have to be a genius to know that this was something of a thumb on the nose from Dettorri to his erstwhile employers, and whatever the reasons, that’s how life is. Either way, nobody has a monopoly on anybody else’s money or services, and it seems we were on the money in suggesting that Frankie might be on his way. Just yesterday, the website of Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation read “Frankie Dettorri will not be retained by Godolphin next year”.

Dettori, whose 18-year spell in the royal blue began with the ride on the operation’s first Classic winner, Ballanchine in 1994, has registered 110 pattern race successes for the firm in total. According to Godolphin’s racing manager, Simon Crisford, “Frankie has made the difference between winning and losing on so many occasions in the world’s biggest races. However he is looking for a fresh challenge, and we felt that the retainer was not really working, so this is the best way forward.” If riding for the enemy in the Arc was not what was meant by “the retainer is not really working”, it’s anybody’s guess what it might mean.

And while Dettori may not always be counted upon to be the arch diplomat, he certainly played this one like he was blessed by the Vatican, “I’ve had 18 wonderful years. Godolphin has been a major part of what I’ve achieved in racing, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I feel the time has come for a change. My position in the stable has changed a little bit, and I need a new challenge. Sheikh Mohammed had the confidence to take me on board when I was young, and we smashed every record together”.

One thing you can count on: we haven’t seen the last of Senor Dettori.