EPSOM’s weighing room will be full of tension, nerves and anticipation on Saturday afternoon, as 14 jockeys prepare for the most revered horse race in the world, the Derby.
Yet, the man who’s getting a leg-up in the race for the final time is showing no such emotion.
Frankie Dettori, who announced his retirement from the sport in December, is “pretty chilled and relaxed” ahead of his ride on 4/1 second favourite Arrest.
“I feel completely the opposite to how I thought I’d feel”, said the legendary 52-year-old rider.
“To be honest, when I announced my retirement in December, I never thought I’d have a horse with this good a chance in the Derby. I was hoping to find a ride, but this guy has a very good chance of winning it.
“He’s filled his frame and has improved with every gallop. There are horses with chances throughout the field, in fact it looks a very open Derby, but we tick as many boxes as any of them”, continued Dettori.
Auguste Rodin, trained by the all-conquering Aidan O’Brien, looks like being sent off favourite, while recent Lingfield Derby Trial winner Military Order is also fancied to go close, but that doesn’t faze Frankie:
“I’m on a horse that I wouldn’t swap for anything else in the race. There’s nothing there that would interest me enough to jump off Arrest. He’s proven, he stays and I think I come into the race with as good a chance as anything in the field.”
Dettori has been a ball of emotion on Derby Days in years gone by, and when Golden Horn landed him his second Derby win in 2015 it was like a Champagne bottle popping, but there’s no doubt that the Italian is much cooler about the heat of battle this time around.
“I have nothing to prove”, said Dettori, and he’s right.
With two Derby wins already on the mantlepiece, he can hang up the saddle content.
But deep down inside, we all know Dettori, and underneath the cool, calm and collected pre-Derby persona, he probably wants this more than anything else in his farewell season.
Frankie Dettori is a World Pool ambassador. You can read his Derby Day thoughts on the World Pool’s website: https://worldpool.hkjc.com/news-content.aspx?in_file=20230602101100.html&b_cid=CSLDSPA_2122WPOOL_Home_News