‘For 18 months, I thought I was a leper’: Frankie Dettori on his cocaine ban, bulimia and banter with the Queen

By: Simon Hattenstone Tuesday 26 October 2021

He almost quit, but now the champion jockey is riding high. He discusses his second wind, racing’s poverty problem – and why he hopes his kids won’t enter the sport

All life can be found at Dettori towers. The outside looks forbiddingly formal – a huge new-build mansion, propped up by grandiose pillars, near the Suffolk racing town of Newmarket. Inside, it’s a different story. Frankie Dettori’s wife, Catherine, is chopping up chicken for the cats, dogs, kids and Dettori. Chilli, the alsatian, is mooching around, chewed-up Frisbee in his mouth, begging for a game of catch. Blue, a friend’s 16-week-old working cocker spaniel, is tearing chunks out of Ricky, a Romanian rescue dog three times her size, while the dachshunds Lettie and Possum try to keep up.

In the fields outside, horses and miniature donkeys are grazing happily. Catherine’s mother pops over for a natter. Blue’s owner is chatting with Catherine, while Catherine is telling me how quiet it is now that three of the five kids have left home, their pet pig has gone to pig heaven and their emus have departed for distant shores.

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