Frankie Dettori’s global retirement journey continues with his upcoming appearance in Northern Ireland, where he is set to take the reins at Down Royal on Friday evening.
Having recently showcased his skills in Hungary last Saturday, Dettori’s agenda includes partnering with the Matthew Smith-trained horse, No Thanks, in the Ulster Cesarewitch (scheduled for 6.05).
Following this, he will be aboard Evening’s Empire, trained by Eddie and Patrick Harty, for a 1m2½f handicap race at 6.40.
Dettori is no newcomer to Northern Ireland, as he has a well-established connection with the late Barney Curley, a native of Fermanagh and a highly regarded figure in the horse racing industry.
“It’s exciting. I’ve been to Northern Ireland before with my good friend Barney [Curley], who was my mentor for so many years, but I’ve never been to Down Royal.
“They asked me a long time ago to come and I agreed. It fits perfectly in the calendar given it’s the day before Leopardstown and the Irish Champions Festival. There’s a lot of fans in Ireland and I have five weeks left riding in Europe, so I’m seeking every opportunity to do as much as I can.”
“The racing at Down Royal looks competitive and both my rides seem to have a chance so we’ll have a crack. The most important thing is we get a beautiful day and for people to come racing and have fun.”
Emma Meehan, chief executive of Down Royal, said: “It’s Frankie’s first time riding in Northern Ireland so it’s quite the coup for us. We’re delighted to see he’s booked to ride in two races and he will come into the enclosure afterwards.
“The Evening with Frankie Dettori event is nearly sold out. We put in a few extra tables so we still have some availability but we’re getting tight. Interest has been good and it has definitely been well received by the Northern Irish punters.
“They love their racing and we thought it was fitting to ask him to visit as he has never ridden here. We needed to get in quick before it wasn’t an option anymore so we could tick the box for Down Royal.”
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