Frankie Dettori

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Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the jockey Frankie Dettori. Over the past two decades he's won more than 2,000 races including most of the classics at home and abroad and has been Champion Jockey three times. The son of a famous Italian jockey, he was brought up in Italy but sent by his father to train at Newmarket when he was 14 years old - 18 months later he was winning races. In 1996 he won seven races out of seven in a single day at Ascot - a feat that has not been achieved before or since.

But in 2000 he thought his luck had run out when he and fellow jockey Ray Cochrane left Newmarket in a light aircraft - only for it to plunge to the ground moments after take-off. He thought he was about to die and on coming round in the wreckage was not sure whether he was alive or dead. The event left him undecided as to what to do next. He was a hugely popular team captain on BBC TV's A Question of Sport for two years, but a chance remark from one of the contestants who thought he had retired made him realise he had to focus on being a jockey. He returned to the sport with a renewed vigour and became Champion jockey once again. Now a father of five, Frankie plans to retire at 45 and hopes that by then he will have won the Epsom Derby - the only major title that has so far eluded him.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Amazing Grace by Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Book: The History of the Derby
Luxury: Lifetime's supply of Pinot Grigio

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45 minutes

Last on

Fri 20 Jan 2006 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestFrankie Dettori

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