January 27, 2023

THIS time next year, racing will come to life after Frankie Dettori.

Last month, the legendary Italian announced that he was retiring from riding after a brilliant 38-year career at the Breeders’ Cup in November.



Frankie Dettori will end his legendary career in NovemberCredit: PA: Press Association.
Oisin Murphy is one of the potential new faces of horse racing.


Oisin Murphy is one of the potential new faces of horse racing.Credit: Getty Images – Getty

All good things come to an end, but this was the news that horse racing has long feared.

Not only is Dettori one of the greatest jockeys of all time, but his stellar qualities and incredible personality have transcended the sport in the last three decades.

He was the industry’s sole marketing machine and one of the few easily recognizable faces in racing among the general public.

His retirement will be seismic for horse racing as well, and in truth, he is indispensable, but the work must begin now to try and find a new face in the sport.



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There are some very obvious candidates, though none of them are perfect, and it will be difficult for them to get Dettori’s draw power.

Oisin Murphy is the leader, but his career has been marred by controversy over the past couple of years.

He is currently serving a 14-month ban for lying to racing authorities about his whereabouts and violating Covid-19 protocols in the midst of the pandemic, and for failing a breath test a third time.

He has since spoken about his struggles with alcohol abuse and is said to attend AA meetings regularly.

He has also been disqualified in the past for testing positive for cocaine, so his reputation has taken a few hits.

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However, the three-time champion jockey has a sizable social media following and a huge legion of fans, while being one of the few jockeys to have appeared on TV shows outside of the sport.

He was recently a part of the SAS style show “Ultimate Hell Week” in Ireland and starred in the Amazon documentary “Horse Power” so his options are beyond the racing bubble.

In addition, he is one of the most talented jockeys in the area.

No one can match Dettori in terms of charisma, but Murphy at least shows some personality.

Other potential “faces” of the sport are Tom Marquand and Holly Doyle, the golden couple of racing.

Both have become top class drivers in recent seasons and are regulars in Group 1.

They recently returned from Japan, where they have a huge following, but they are both a bit reserved and unlikely to enjoy being in the spotlight 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Reigning champion William Buick is a first-class jockey, but he is a family man who leads a quiet life.

He doesn’t fit him by nature, and neither does Ryan Moore, who is a world-class racer but shuns the spotlight like the plague.

In truth, when it comes to finding a new face in the sport, it seems like it’s either Oisin Murphy or a flop.

He has the following: personality and talent. Now he needs to get rid of his “bad boy” image.

He returns from a suspension on February 16 and the sport can desperately do without the Irishman’s scandals in the future because he will be the most famous face of racing in November.


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