Frankie's record breaking horse
THE horse that gave Frankie Dettori a place in the record books has been saved by the Newmarket jockey.Fujiyama Crest, the horse Dettori rode to complete his seventh consecutive win in one magical day at Ascot in 1996, now currently enjoys his retirement in the comfort of the champion flat jockey's back garden at his home near Newmarket.
THE horse that gave Frankie Dettori a place in the record books has been saved by the Newmarket jockey.
Fujiyama Crest, the horse Dettori rode to complete his seventh consecutive win in one magical day at Ascot in 1996, now currently enjoys his retirement in the comfort of the champion flat jockey's back garden at his home near Newmarket.
Dettori explained: "I got a call from Fujiyama Crest's old stable lad saying he had seen him being sold off cheaply in some Welsh sales.
"I knew I had to step in and save him. I think it is a shame what happens to old racehorses when they are no longer of use to their owners – and I couldn't bear the thought of Fujiyama going somewhere he might not be appreciated."
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Dettori said he often rides the history-making horse around the surrounding villages near his home while the 12-year-old is also a firm favourite with Dettori's eldest son Leo, three.
Married to Catherine and with two daughters, Ella and Mia, Dettori now spends less time racing and is focussing more on his role as team captain on A Question of Sport and bringing out his own brand of Italian pizzas.
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But with Royal Ascot underway this week, Dettori's mind wandered back to that record-breaking day, dubbed the "Magnificent Seven".
He said: "It wasn't a Royal occasion but I will never forget that wonderful day. The last race was the worst, I had won six out of six but we were only sending Fujiyama Crest out because we didn't have a ride in the seventh.
"He had won the race the year before but he hadn't a good year at all and I didn't think he had a hope in hell of doing it again.
"He was 12-1 which was about right but, because I'd already sent six in, he ended up the 2-1 favourite.
"It seemed ridiculous because in my mind the horse had no chance. From the bend to the winning post is two furlongs – about 26 seconds – and on the day it felt like 26 hours.
"That post seemed to be running away from me and even when I got through it, I don't think what had happened really sunk in."
By securing his place in horse racing history, Dettori overcome odds of 25,095-1 and he will be hoping for similar success, if slightly smaller odds, during his races at Royal Ascot this week.
He added: "Like Ascot itself, Fujiyama will always mean a lot to me and I will never forget that the horse gave me the greatest day of my riding life.
"The seven out of seven means more to me than even my Classic wins – it's a record that stands alone in 300 years of sporting history."