Ely Cathedral hosts legendary jockey Frankie Dettori's only book signing
- Credit: Terry Harris
Ely Cathedral welcomed legendary jockey Frankie Dettori on Tuesday evening for his only book signing this year.
And, according to David Learner, of Topping & Company Booksellers, who organised the event, Frankie was "at his frankest!"
"In a glowing, Gothic setting one of the world's finest jockeys talked with sincerity, great emotion and a charming wit that's seen him win everything there is to win in his chosen sport," he said.
"Whether it was the near-death experience that saw him dragged to safety or the simple exhilaration that is now his trademark - that 'Leap of Faith' that is the title of his new autobiography and the mantra he can't now live without.
"He chatted with intimacy to a packed and attentive audience that allowed for silence and laughter in equal measure.
Dettori's interviewer, sports journalist and Ely resident Tony Rushmer, was - said David - "superb, in-depth, never letting up".
Tony's own biography of trainer Henry Cecil made him the obvious choice to pose not just the questions that were easy to answer but also those that probed deep into the champion jockey's soul.
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The evening in the cathedral is the only book event that Frankie Dettori will have undertaken during a packed schedule that continues to see him on every continent, seemingly most of the time.
Yet he's happiest in Stetchworth, the place he calls home, and his rapt audience took him to their hearts. You could hear a pin drop.
The sport of kings has crowned a new one and he loves the attention it provides.
But Frankie's most revealing and surprising moment came as he fielded a question from the audience: would he ever be appearing on Strictly Come Dancing?
'I'd love to!' he said. 'They ask me every year! Soon, I hope. Soon...'
It's got to be a sight worth seeing. A Leap of Faith, a fleckle, a heel lead and, as tonight proved, a friend to us all whose applause rang out.
His book isn't just worth reading: 'A Leap of Faith' is itself an act of faith, epic in its scope yet raw and close as you would hope.
It'll be the sports autobiography of the year. That's the tip from the stable lads at Toppings. Odds on.