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Frankie Dettori makes dramatic retirement U-turn

Jockey Frankie Dettori has gone back on his intention to retire from the saddle and will instead head to California to ride full-time in America after Christmas.

So, what has encouraged this change of heart and what is next for racing's best-known rider?

Frankie Dettori profile

Born15th December, 1970
BirthplaceMilan, Italy
British Champion Jockey titlesThree
British Classic winsFour 1,000 Guineas, Four 2,000 Guineas, Two Derbys, Seven Oaks, Six St Legers
Major European winsSix Prix d'Arc de Triomphe, Two Irish 2,000 Guineas, One Irish Derby, Five Irish Oaks, Two Irish St Legers
USA wins14 Breeders' Cup wins - including one Breeders' Cup Classic and five Breeders' Cup Turfs

Retirement U-turn

There had been rumours that Dettori was having a change of heart about retirement for the last couple of weeks but he confirmed his plans to carry on riding to the Racing Post on 12th October.

British Champions Day at Ascot will still be his final day of racing in Britain next week, but he will be heading to California to ride out of Santa Anita.

He told the Racing Post: "I feel like I still have to get it all out of my system, so the obvious choice for me is to move back full-time to America because I had such a good time there over the winter."

Dettori said he was surprised at how well his farewell campaign went.

It got off to a great start when he landed the 2,000 Guineas for the fourth time with Chaldean in May and then he tasted great success at York's Ebor meeting in August.

Dettori won the feature event on Absurde, trained by Willie Mullins, and also claiming victories on Kinross in the City of York Stakes and with Mostahdaf in the Juddmonte International, and it was then that Dettori started to question whether there was still gas in the tank.

He said: "I didn't expect to have one of my best years for a long time. I thought my rides would fizzle out and that I would slowly head towards the sunset."

Remaining British appearances

Dettori claimed victory on Inspiral in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Inspiral and the Cheveley Park four-year-old is one of four excellent chances he is expected to have at Ascot on Champions Day on Saturday 21st October.

Inspiral is 6/1 to follow that success with victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, while York winner Kinross is 2/1 favourite for the Champions Sprint as the Ralph Beckett-trained six-year-old gelding looks to get his head in front again after finishing second in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Arc day.

Dettori is also expected to ride 5/1 shot King of Steel in the Champion Stakes and Courage Mon Ami, who is 6/1 for the Long Distance Cup, as he brings the curtain down on his British career.

Future plans abroad

Dettori could still feature in big races in Dubai and Saudi Arabia and has also not ruled out riding at Royal Ascot or in other major European occasions, but said he will only do so if his US calendar allows.

He will not be attached to a particular stable in America and will be looking to ride for a variety of trainers.

The first priority after Champions Day will be the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita, which starts on Friday 3rd November.

Dettori has won 14 races at the meeting and he then plans to head to Australia and attempt to win his first Melbourne Cup before riding a fixture at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.

His permanent move to America is then due to take place in December and the three-time British champion jockey will then concentrate on the US domestic scene with a priority being to gain a strong ride in the Kentucky Derby, which takes place on Saturday 4th May.

He said: "It's all about being a freelance in the States but I hope to be riding for everyone, just like I did when I went out there at the end of last year."

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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