‘Magificent seven’: Frankie Dettori on the ‘turning point’ moment in his career

FRANKIE Dettori has described his unprecedented ‘magnificent seven’ at Ascot 25 years ago today as the “turning point” in his career.

Frankie dettori celebrates Frankie Dettori celebrates on Fujiyama Crest after completing his 'magnificent seven' at Ascot 25 years ago.
Frankie dettori celebrates Frankie Dettori celebrates on Fujiyama Crest after completing his 'magnificent seven' at Ascot 25 years ago.

The Italian-born rider had already become well-established when he rode all seven winners, at odds of 25,051-1, at the then Festival of Racing.

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But he believes the history-making feat – and resulting euphoria – helped take his career, and racing’s profile, to new heights.

Frankie dettori is still regarded as one of the world's best jockeys 25 years after his 'magnificent seven' at Ascot.

He became a regular on television, hosting BBC’s Top of the Pops and becoming a captain on A Question Of Sport.

He had his own brands of food and went into restaurant ownership with chef Marco Pierre White - among other trappings associated with a superstar.

Dettori’s autobiography, first published in 2004, has been updated and is due out next month when the 50-year-old will recall his extraordinary achievement.

“It does seem 25 years when I watch the replays! Mind you, what a day. And now I’m 50,” he said.

“It was that day made me famous. I watched the replays the other day, because I was doing a documentary.

“It’s what dreams are made of. You can’t put your head round it, how the thing happened.

“It was mad, absolutely mad. At least it gave the sport a good lift. Usually it’s all about negative stuff - it was nice to have some positive stuff. To me, it was my turning point really.”

Dettori knew he had a good book of rides and realistic hopes of a double or a treble - but going through the card at accumulative odds of 25,095-1 was not even dream territory.

Wall Street (2-1 favourite) got the ball rolling in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes, and appropriately an estimated £30 million ‘crash’ was already in the making for bookmakers.

Diffident (12-1) swiftly followed in the Diadem Stakes - with Mark of Esteem (100-30) then taking the big race of the day, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

There was no stopping Dettori now. With his confidence sky high after that Group One triumph, he guided top-weight Decorated Hero (7-1) to a convincing victory over 25 rivals in the Tote Festival Handicap.

After he had steered Fatefully (7-4 favourite) to a narrow success in the Rosemary Stakes, Lochangel (5-4 joint-favourite) took Dettori within touching distance of history by winning the Blue Seal Stakes.

Expectation reached fever pitch come the concluding Gordon Carter Handicap. The BBC captured the moment by interrupting its traditional Grandstand coverage to broadcast the live action from Ascot as bookies slashed the odds for Dettori’s final mount, Fujiyama Crest.

With the layers’ liabilities sky high and punters’ faith in the ‘Frankie Factor’, Fujiyama Crest was sent off the 2-1 favourite – having started the day at 12-1. Leading from the start, Sir Michael Stoute’s charge held off the late challenge of Northern Fleet and Pat Eddery by a neck to seal Dettori’s place in the history books.

Dettori’s feat was unmatched, topping the previous best on six-race cards by Sir Gordon Richards at Chepstow in 1933 and Alec Russell at the long defunct Bogside in 1957. Ascot even erected a statue of Dettori to mark the unprecedented events.

His career went from strength to strength after that defining day, too.

Dettori became champion jockey for a third time in 2004, ended his Derby hoodoo on Authorized in 2007 and, in recent seasons, has ridden such popular champions as Enable and Stradivarius to multiple successes.

At the age of 50, his appetite for winners, and his love for racing, has not diminished with any talk of retirement very much remaining on the backburner as he focuses, almost exclusively, on the big racedays rather than the mundane midweek meetings that no longer inspire, motivate or energise him.