At the age of eight Frankie was given his first mount – a palomino pony.
Every night Frankie used to hone his riding skills on the pony for at least half an hour. So committed was Frankie to riding that school was of little use and he left at thirteen to become a stable boy and apprentice jockey.
The following year Frankie left his native Italy for Britain to work for Italian trainer Luca Cumani in Newmarket. The gamble paid dividends. Within two years Frankie had ridden winners in Italy and in England and further successes followed. In 1989 Frankie Dettori was made Luca Cumanis stable jockey after becoming Champion Apprentice.
The wins started to pour in and in 1990 Frankie managed to record one hundred victories. Not since Lester Piggot had a jockey won so many races in their teens. The next year he won his first derby in Germany and the young Italian was quickly establishing himself in the jockey hierarchy.
Frankie was also cultivating what was to become one of his greatest strengths. He aimed to ride with his hands as low as possible which had the effect of relaxing the horse. This was augmented by his innate ability to get the best out of his horses especially in the latter stages of a race.
This Frankie Factor coupled with a shrewd mind for racing was put to devastating effect time and again. Indeed he used his ability over the years to win every single major race with the exception of the Epsom Derby. On 28th September 1998 at Ascot he won each of the seven races he entered. It is very unlikely that such a feat will ever be equalled – let alone bettered.