Dettori appointed retained rider for Sheikh Joaan Al Thani
Former Champion Jockey ‘delighted’ with new position
Frankie Dettori’s long and successful partnership with Godolphin came to end last autumn. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Image
Frankie Dettori is looking forward to a new chapter in his glittering career after being appointed as the new retained rider for leading owner Sheikh Joaan Al Thani. Al Thani is one of the rising stars of the owning and breeding ranks with the likes of St James’s Palace Stakes runner-up Toronado, Group One winner Olympic Glory and French 2,000 Guineas hero Style Vendome among his horses.
He also recently purchased Naas Listed winner Sandiva, who Dettori partnered when second in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Dettori, whose long and successful partnership with Godolphin came to end last autumn, is delighted to have his new position confirmed. He said: “I’m thrilled to have taken a job for an outstanding new owner and I’m looking forward to the association.”
Al Thani, who also has the Marco Botti-trained Planteur in his British-based team, owns the Haras de Bouquetot stud farm in Normandy.
“I went over to Chantilly yesterday and had a nice meeting with Sheikh Joann. We’ve started an agreement and I’m looking forward to this new venture for me,” Dettori told At The Races. “I rode a couple of horses for him at Royal Ascot and he was very interested to have my service. I had a long talk with him yesterday. He seems a very ambitious owner.
“He’s got plenty of horses and he’s got plans to expand, so it’s a good opportunity for me to get back in the big league. I had no plans but this opportunity came along. Sheikh Joann plans to be a big player in racing and with my experience, I hope I can help him. He’s got plenty of good horses around Europe and let’s hope we can start well.
“I feel well, I feel fit. It was hard to come back in the middle of the season. The good horses have been taken but, nevertheless, you’ve got to start building a new business and slowly we are getting into top gear.”
Despite Dettori being signed up as retained rider, it is expected Richard Hughes will keep the ride on Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s horses in training with Richard Hannon – most notably Toronado and Olympic Glory. Assistant trainer Richard Hannon jnr confirmed Toronado would not be running in this weekend’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.
He said: “Toronado will not be running on Saturday. The plan is the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood (on July 31st).” Asked about plans for Olympic Glory, Hannon said: “I think he’ll probably go to France for his next run. The Prix Jacques le Marois is an option.”