Frankie Dettori ‘relieved and humble’ after securing 3,000th British winner at Newmarket

Frankie Dettori celebrates his historic 3,000th British winner at Newmarket on Friday evening. Pictu

Frankie Dettori celebrates his historic 3,000th British winner at Newmarket on Friday evening. Picture: Matt Halmshaw - Credit: Archant

Jockey Frankie Dettori secured his 3,000th British winner when Predilection claimed victory at Newmarket on Friday evening.

The popular Italian rider reached the notable landmark with a half-length defeat of Palmerston in the James Hardie Cladding At U Plastics Handicap over a mile.

Dettori had earlier moved on to the 2,999-winner mark when Ghayyar landed the NGK Spark Plugs EBF Stallions Maiden - a race won in 2010 by the mighty Frankel.

Predilection, a 7-2 chance, made all of the running en route to victory as Dettori raised aloft his right arm when he crossed the line.

The 45-year-old then treated enthusiastic racegoers at his local track to his trademark flying dismount upon entering the winner’s enclosure.

It was a fitting way to have reached the milestone as Predilection is trained by John Gosden, with whom Dettori has enjoyed such a profitable alliance in recent seasons - most significantly with last year’s Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Golden Horn.

Dettori said: “It’s special. I’m very emotional because my family are here as well.

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“I got a tremendous cheer, it was brilliant.

“I didn’t ride all week purposefully because Newmarket is where I’m from.

“I’m very pleased for it to have happened at Newmarket because this is where I landed 30 years ago.

“Who ever thought 30 years later I would have ridden all of those winners?

“It’s not a big meeting, it’s not a Royal Ascot - it’s a mundane Friday night with 20,000 people!

“I’m relieved and very humble.”

Dettori was also quick to pay tribute to Gosden for helping to reignite his career.

The jockey said: “He’s been instrumental.

“I started with him 20 years ago and he picked me back up when I was down.”

A three-times champion jockey, Dettori was won virtually all of the major races in Europe, but had to wait until 2007 for the clean-sweep of domestic Classics when Authorized struck in the Derby.

He also created headlines across the globe at Ascot in September 1996 when he went through the card with seven winners from seven rides - now known affectionately as the ‘Magnificent Seven’.

His career has, however, not been without controversy and in December 2012 he was hit with a six-month worldwide ban from racing after he failed a drugs test while riding at Longchamp, in Paris, in September of that year.

Dettori remained on a downward trajectory after his split with prominent owners Godolphin, the brainchild of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed and for whom he enjoyed so many high points in an 18-year association.

But after having signed up as retained rider for Qatari powerhouse Al Shaqab Racing in the summer of 2013, his career has undergone an astonishing renaissance.

Big winners at big meetings have once again become commonplace, the most important of which this season came at Newmarket in April when Galileo Gold, owned by Al Shaqab and trained by Hugo Palmer, won the 2000 Guineas.

Dettori accepts the prospect of riding 4,000 winners was “very unlikely”, but said: “The next target is Doug Smith.

“I’m sixth on the all-time English winners’ list. Doug Smith is on 3,111 and he is a realistic target.

“If I could be fifth on the list it would be a tremendous achievement from a young lad from Italy.”

Dettori added that Fujiyama Crest, the last horse to bring home the ‘Magnificent Seven’ at Ascot, was his “most important winner”.

The jockey added: “He was a horse with no chance and the adrenalin on the occasion lifted the horse and me.”