Dettori craves deliverance in Florida

*

Frankie Dettori rides back into town today and many will spill out of the shops and on to the sidewalk to witness his coming. To see Frankie, one of the best and certainly the most glamorous rider in Europe. To see Frankie, the man who died on the biggest stage of them all 12 months ago.

Frankie Dettori rides back into town today and many will spill out of the shops and on to the sidewalk to witness his coming. To see Frankie, one of the best and certainly the most glamorous rider in Europe. To see Frankie, the man who died on the biggest stage of them all 12 months ago.

Gulfstream Park was a changed place yesterday. The storm that was meant to hit the Floridian coast had blown out and lost its force, a Hurricane Higgins if you like. There was still much precipitation, however, and the dirt track resembled a beach just after the tide had disappeared. Nevertheless, the warm rain at daybreak told us we were in the tropics. This is no Churchill Downs. Dettori certainly hopes so.

It was a year ago in industrial Kentucky that the Italian made a bad mistake. He whipped Swain across the track in the Breeders' Cup Classic and lost far more than his share of the monstrous $4m prize. He lost his reputation.

"One glaring error like that will mark him for life over here," Bill Finley, the racing correspondent of the New York Daily News, says. "It was one of the worst rides in the history of major races. We're not so ignorant and so foolish to think that Frankie Dettori is a hopelessly poor rider, but if on his one big moment in the spotlight he blows it, then that's the impression he's going to leave over here. We don't think he's a bum. Maybe just a little overrated.

"He's not thought of in the United States as a brilliant rider, he's known as the guy who blew the Breeders' Cup.''

It was a ride which a hugely Eurosceptic audience was happy to pick over. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, George Pratt, a professor of electrical engineering, was set the task of analysing tapes of the race. He came to the conclusion that Swain lost about eight and a half feet by his actions, lugging out for 17 strides and losing six inches per stride, more than his margin of defeat.

When he comes down Hallandale Beach Boulevard to this tight, paperclip track, Frankie will therefore understand why the bunting is not out for him. He has, at last, come to terms with Breeders' Cup XV. In the immediate aftermath he deluded himself with a clusterbomb of excuses. The television lights had dazzled his horse, he said. He deliberately swerved clear of the battle-hardened Silver Charm, he said. We half expected, that autumnal day in Louisville, that he would point to the wrong sort of leaves on the track.

Later there would be time for admission. "I lost it," Dettori was able to say. "I absolutely lost everything I learnt. It all went out of the window.''

The jockey may have lost everything, but he has by no means lost everyone. Among the advanced guard in Gulfstream Park's quarantine unit yesterday was Tom Albertrani, the assistant trainer in Godolphin's élite ranks. He recounted the bad time for the Dubai team's retained rider. "Frankie was hitting left-handed quite a bit [that day]," Albertrani said.

"He hit him 13 times and, as the horse [Swain] started drifting, he just kinda lost control of him really. I could see by the way that he was hitting him that most horses would do that under that sort of pressure. By the time he straightened him out it was too late. But he's a good rider and he can learn from his mistakes. We all have confidence in Frankie.''

Also behind the thick chicken-wire of the segregation unit was Luca Cumani, who is almost family to Dettori. In great Italian tradition, they have fought and they have made up and the jockey continues his association at the weekend with Zomaradah in the Filly & Mare Turf (Lend A Hand in the Mile and Daylami in the Turf are his other mounts).

"Frankie is not the sort of person who dwells too much on the past and on mistakes. He'll be his usually bubbly self when he arrives looking forward to a Breeders' Cup meeting this year," Cumani said. "This will definitely work in a positive way for him. He doesn't like making mistakes and he doesn't like what happened to him last year. He will want to put it past him and give all the horses here a positive ride. I'm sure he will.

"He hasn't got to be No 1 in Europe by making too many mistakes and one mistake is allowable. It just happened to be a high profile one. If the same thing had happened at Catterick no-one would have noticed.''

But that is it. It didn't happen at Catterick. It happened on the richest day's racing in the world. They were all watching Europe's best-known jockey that afternoon and, at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, when Frankie must try hard to not try too hard, they will all be watching him again.

Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Life and Style
Out and about: for 'Glee' character Bert Hummel, having a gay son was a learning curve
lifeEven 'cool' parents need help parenting gay teens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Life and Style
fashion'To start singing with Pharrell is not that bad, no?'
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor

£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...

Argyll Scott International: Risk Assurance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for t...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible