Ahead of the world’s richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup, Godolphin jockey Frankie Dettori shared his thoughts with Vision on racing, golf and flying dismounts…
For me, Meydan [venue of the Dubai World Cup] is the ultimate racecourse. Riding there is like running on a golf course or a snooker table. It is flat, it’s got no ridges and all the bends are banked. It’s so perfect you can really feel the power of the horse and its acceleration beneath you.
I’m really looking forward to this year’s Dubai World Cup. Will I win? Well, I’m going to give it a good go. It’s never easy but you can bet I’ll be trying – don’t worry about that!
Dubai Millennium [Frankie rode Dubai Millennium to victory at the 2000 Dubai World Cup] was the best horse I ever rode. He had tremendous power and he had his own mind as well. When he wanted to run there was nobody who could stop him.
My kids are into horses too. They have got their own horses and their mum lets them ride every morning.
Unfortunately, I think my oldest son, Leo, is going to be a bit too big to be a jockey! He probably got the genes from Catherine’s [Frankie’s wife] side of the family. He’s only 12 but he’s already got the same size feet as me and it won’t be long before he’s as tall as me too.
My family love Dubai. They spend a couple weeks here in Easter and all the kids want to do is go to the water park. They are first in the queue in the morning and don’t emerge till the evening. They come out like prunes – all wrinkled-up!
My favourite place to eat in Dubai is Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill (I have to say that!). There’s always a great atmosphere in there and it’s a joy to run. The food’s great, too…
I’m a big fan of golf and one of my favourite courses here in Dubai is where they play the Desert Classic [Emirates Golf Club]. It’s one of the best courses that I’ve ever played – it’s immaculate.
I actually competed in the Challenge Match at this year’s Dubai Desert Classic. I played terribly, but it was very nice to be able to be so close to professional golf players. I was teamed with Fred Couples, who is an absolute gentleman and great fun. I think I was putting him in spots he’s never been in before.
The Dubai World Cup is unique in that you can draw horses from across the globe – North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. It doesn’t happen often that we can all meet in one place and have a really good scrap!
Jockeys such as Nick McCain and Willy Carson carried on riding beyond 50. I’m 41 now, so 50 is not really that far off. But as long as I still enjoy it, and I’ve still got a good job, I’ll carry on for as long as I can.
I’m famous for my flying dismounts and people are always asking me if I’m afraid I might get it wrong one day and twist my ankle. It’s always at the back of my mind but so far I’ve gotten away with it.