When Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori arrived on British shores in 1985, aged just 14, he couldn’t speak a word of English. Having left school just a year earlier and following in the footsteps of his father, he was eager to become a stable boy and apprentice jockey, willing to do everything it took to make it. This was his first, but certainly not his last, leap of faith.
Despite his slight size, Frankie’s impact upon the British racing scene was immediate and significant. Brimming with confidence, charisma and personality, and with what was clearly a precocious talent, in 1990 he became the first teenager since Lester Piggot to win over 100 races in a single season. By 1996, Frankie was already established as a celebrity in the sport and an adopted national treasure, but it was his extraordinary achievement of winning all seven races in a single day at Ascot that cemented his reputation as the greatest rider of his generation.
Nearly 25 years later, and having won the Longines World’s Best Jockey for three consecutive years running, Frankie has demonstrated an unparalleled level of longevity at the pinnacle of his sport. But his story is not simply one of uninterrupted success, but also of personal anguish, recovery and restoration – both in and out of the saddle.
Now, for the very first time, Frankie compellingly reveals the lows to his highs; the plane crash that nearly killed him, the drugs ban that nearly made him quit the sport, and the acrimonious split from Godolphin that threatened his future. But Leap of Faith is also a story of love – for the sport he continues to dominate to this day, the great horses of his era (Stradivarius, Golden Horn, and of course Enable), and most importantly for his family, who have supported him every step of the way.
Heartfelt and poignant, this is not simply a memoir, but a celebration of perseverance and defying the odds.
Published end of October
320 page hardback