Dettori leaves Godolphin after 18 years: is the split amicable?

Oct 22, 2012

Jockey will not be retained in 2013 after riding for rivals Coolmore in Paris

ON THE weekend that Frankel bowed out from the racing scene with a 14th straight win, one of the sport's most famous jockeys also revealed that his career is at a crossroads. After 18 years Frankie Dettori will no longer ride for Sheikh Mohammed and the Godolphin stable and is expected to go freelance next season.

The move has not been greeted with great surprise by the racing fraternity, who spotted that something was seriously amiss in the relationship when the 41-year-old Italian chose to ride Camelot, a horse from rival conglomerate Coolmore, in this month's Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe in Paris.

Dettori had not ridden a Coolmore mount since 2005 and on that occasion he was forced to issue a public apology, so there can be little doubt that the jockey knew what he was doing.

"If he had wished to tear up his contract publicly, he could not have done so with greater emphasis," reported The Times.

"It has been like a car crash unfolding in slow motion but the impact still resounded throughout racing yesterday. Frankie Dettori's 18 years as first jockey to Sheikh Mohammed ended with measured statements, mutual gratitude and untold undercurrents."

Dettori is said to have been unhappy about the arrival of two other high-profile jockeys at Godolphin in the spring. The presence of Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre de Sousa appears to have left Dettori sidelined, and he was overlooked for several big races, even though he was described as the "senior rider" at the stable.

The relationship between Godolphin and jockey has "deteriorated in public" this year, according to The Guardian. "Though he has walked away from Godolphin on his own terms, there is a strong impression that he may have been ushered out, had he not done so."

He has, potentially, another ten years at the top says the paper, which suggests that he may sign up with another stable.

There is also confusion over whether the split is amicable. Both sides insist that there is no bad blood, but The Daily Telegraph begged to differ. "Relations between Dettori and Sheikh Mohammed are understood to have cooled considerably," it said.

The Daily Mail said that Dettori had appeared "humiliated" at times this season. "Both Dettori and Godolphin are expected to say that they will still work together but those situations look likely to be infrequent at best," it added.

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