Frankie Dettori: My Life In Travel

'I stay in the best hotels. I couldn't ride a race after an uncomfortable night'

First holiday memory?

Visiting Sardinia with my father, where he was born. When I was a child, he rode abroad a lot, but when I was 10, we had a month-long holiday in Italy. It was very special.

Best holiday?

Staying in my house in Sardinia and spending time with my children.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife Catherine, because we very rarely travel together. She is the perfect companion - calm and fun - and it is a huge treat to be together.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Beach bum - or at least I would be if my children let me! I can really relax on a beach. We usually holiday in Barbados, and there are plenty of fabulous beaches in Dubai, too.

Greatest travel luxury?

Flying first class and staying in the best hotels. There's no way I could ride a race after an uncomfortable night.

Where has seduced you?

Barbados, because we go back regularly, and also Dubai where I live during the winter. I love the laid-back lifestyle of hot countries, eating fruit and fresh fish (ideal for me as I have to control my weight) and living outdoors.

Worst travel experience?

When my plane crashed in 2000. Sadly, the pilot was killed. We were on our way to Goodwood, but we weren't high enough to get over Devil's Dyke. My agent and I were very lucky to survive.

Worst holiday?

Catherine and I visited Jamaica but it rained every day, so we left fairly rapidly. We've never returned to Mexico either - our hotel was foul, very uncomfortable and dirty, and the food disgusting.

Favourite walk/swim/ ride/drive?

I love taking the dogs for an hour's run in the morning when I'm at home in Newmarket. I also love driving along the Amalfi coast. It's so beautiful.

Best meal abroad?

Any meal in Italy. I like very simple Italian food.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Find out where the nearest golf course is - I'm a very keen golfer and I play whenever I get the chance. My handicap is 18.

Favourite city?

London and Rome. Rome is so compact and so incredibly beautiful. I love the way the layers of so many ages and civilisations have been built on top of each other. I discover different fountains and piazzas every time I go. And I love London for its buzz, the nightlife and my friends. And both cities have the best shopping.

'Frankie - The Autobiography of Frankie Dettori' is out in paperback (CollinsWillow, £6.99)