Arise, Sir Frankie Dettori: The Biography of Britain's Best-loved Champion Jockey by Marcus Stead
In a sport renowned for its drama, glamour and wealth, one man above all has come to epitomize the spirit of modern horseracing. Frankie Dettori is the face of British horseracing today, celebrated for his unique charisma, success and exuberance he has revolutionized the sport's image and profile around the world. Born in Italy, the son of a multiple champion jockey, his formative years were tough, as he was forced to cope with his parents' separation, his stepmother's authoritarian regime and his father's uncompromising, steely dedication to riding which often left him feeling deprived of a father figure. Yet, despite these hurdles, he wasted little time in developing a desire to emulate and ultimately surpass his father's achievements, and by the age of 14, he had arrived in Britain where he became apprentice to trainer Luca Cumani at Newmarket. And so began a truly illustrious riding career. It wasn't long before he proved he'd inherited his father's talent; in 1990, he became the first teenager since Lester Piggott to ride 100 winners in a season, and two years later, he won the Ascot Gold Cup for the first time, aged just 21. What is undoubtedly his most celebrated achievement to date came on September 28, 1996, when he won all seven races on a single day at Ascot. His incredible performance won the hearts not only of race goers but of a nation at large. But in June 2000, this larger-than-life character was nearly killed. Taking off from a racecourse to fly to his next meet, his plane crashed, claiming the life of the pilot. Miraculously, he and a fellow passenger escaped with minor injuries but the traumatic experience caused him to change his outlook on life and develop a fresh perspective on riding. Frankie Dettori is first and foremost a jockey, but he is much, much more besides; family man, media personality, entrepreneur, restaurateur and Arsenal fan, he has become one of Britain's best-loved and richest sporting characters, capturing a huge fan base and setting the record books on fire in the process. Here, his remarkable and often controversial story is told.