Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori, the most celebrated Flat jockey since Lester Piggott, has seen some ups and downs in his lengthy career. However, whatever the future holds, the likeable Italian, who turns 50 in December, 2020, will always be remembered for his exploits at Ascot on Saturday, September 28, 1996. That was the day on which Dettori carried all before him, including arguably the greatest jockey of all time, Sir Gordon Richards – who rode all six winners on a six-race card at Chepstow in 1933 – by going through the card, with seven winners from seven rides. For the record, his winning rides were Wall Street (2/1), Diffident (12/1), Mark Of Esteem (100/30), Decorated Hero (7/1), Fatefully (7/4), Lochangel (5/4) and Fujiyama Crest (2/1). Even at starting price (SP), the cumulative odds on the so-called ‘Magnificent Seven’ were in excess of 25,000/1 and even that was only a tiny fraction of the odds available to ‘mug’ punters who backed all seven horses at early prices.
In the long, illustrious history of Royal Ascot, Lester Piggott is, far and away, the most successful jockey. Notwithstanding the fact that the Royal Meeting was not extended to five days until 2002 – seven years after Piggott retired for the second, and final, time in 1995 – ‘The Long Fella’ racked up a total of 116 winners.
However, the most successful current jockey at Royal Ascot is Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori, who stands head and shoulders above his contemporaries with 67 winners. Dettori rode his first Royal Ascot winner, Markofdistinction, trained by Luca Cumani, in the Queen Anne Stakes – at the time it was still a Group Two contest open to horses aged three years and upwards – as a 19-year-old in 1990. In the meantime, the Italian jockey has ridden a total of 24 Group One winners at the Royal Meeting and been leading jockey six times, most recently in 2019. Indeed, on ‘Ladies’ Day’ in 2019, Dettori rode a four-timer – a feat last achieved by Piggott himself in 1965 – which contributed to his total of seven winners.