(Reuters) - Frankie Dettori’s journey back to the pinnacle of flat racing after a drugs ban and split from Godolphin was completed on Saturday when he rode his second English Derby winner as Golden Horn powered to victory at Epsom.
The exuberant Italian steered unbeaten favourite Golden Horn (13-8) to a 3-1/2 lengths success for trainer and old boss John Gosden, who Dettori credited with helping to resurrect his tainted career.
Dettori, 44, served a six-month doping ban which ended in 2013 after testing positive while riding in Paris.
He also split from Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin racing empire to go freelance after 18 years as retained jockey for the Dubai ruler.
Eight years after his first, and long-awaited, Derby win on Authorized in 2007, a beaming Dettori savoured every moment of his triumph on a horse whose owners stumped up a 75,000 pounds ($114,525.00) late entry fee to enter the race.
He completed his trademark flying dismount from the saddle before enthusiastically embracing Gosden, also celebrating his second Derby triumph following Benny The Dip’s win in 1997.
”He’s an unbeaten horse who won the Derby. What can you say? It doesn’t get much better than this. What a thrill...,“ he told Channel 4 television.”
Golden Horn dispelled all stamina doubts in his pedigree when he powered down the centre of the track to pass stable mate Jack Hobbs (4-1), who took second for a 1-2 finish for Gosden.
“I had three days of worrying but I was fine this morning,” Dettori said.
“I knew they were going to go fast. I just wanted to get on the wheel of Jack Hobbs. That’s what happened.”
Dettori paid tribute to Gosden with whom he has renewed links this season.
“If it wasn’t for John I wouldn’t have had this second chance. I worked for him 20 years ago. He won the Derby without me, I won it without him and 20 years later here we are together. It’s a great moment.”
“He’s one of the old time gentlemen. He’s got a heart of gold, very straight. He’s a wonderful man. Used to be a bit of a father figure, now he’s a good friend. I love him dearly and what a great trainer as well.”
Editing by Ken Ferris