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‘Journey of a lifetime’ – Frankie Dettori says emotional goodbye to Stradivarius as he leaves to start stallion career

, ‘Journey of a lifetime’ – Frankie Dettori says emotional goodbye to Stradivarius as he leaves to start stallion career

FRANKIE DETTORI said goodbye to his ‘good friend’ Stradivarius as the great stayer left John Gosden’s yard for the final time.

Emotions were running high in Newmarket as the eight-year-old left Clarehaven Stables to start his lucrative stallion career – just three miles down the road at the National Stud.

Frankie Dettori rode Stradivarius on 26 of his 35 starts

Dettori was in the saddle for each of Stradivarius’ three Gold Cups

Among those on hand to say farewell were his owner Bjorn Nielsen, the entire Gosden family and, of course, his regular jockey Dettori.

The Italian was in the saddle for 26 of Stradivarius’ 35 career starts and they shared 15 wins – though they were also involved in some controversy.

He came under fire for his rides on Stradivarius in both the 2021 and 2022 Gold Cups at Royal Ascot, when the horse finished fourth and third respectively.

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But Dettori never hid his affection for the horse, and on news of his retirement last month he hailed him as a ‘once in a lifetime’ horse.

He said: “I’ve never ridden a horse with so many Group wins under my name, I think we did 14 together.

“It was an honour for me to ride him and I will miss him a lot, he’s been a good friend and a fabulous horse to have, one of a lifetime.

“I wish him a happy retirement and hopefully he’ll become a great stallion in the future.”

Dettori was on hand to see him arrive at the National Stud, where he will cover mares at a fee of £10,000 a pop.

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The eight-year-old was officially retired in September with seven Group 1 wins to his name, including four Goodwood Cups and three Ascot Gold Cups

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He banked nearly £3.5 million in prize-money – and also earned two £1 million bonuses after completing a sweep of a series of races in 2018 and 2019.

Nielsen told the Racing Post: “It’s been the journey of a lifetime and a once-in-a-lifetime experience to have a horse like Stradivarius.

“It’s not a great day him leaving Clarehaven but it’s hard to put into words what a fantastic job John and Thady and all of the Gosden team have done with the horse.

“Although it’s a sad day in some ways it’s happy in another as he’s only moving two miles down the road to the National Stud so people will be able to visit him.

“Hopefully, he can do as well in his new job as he did in his old one.”

John Gosden added: “Stradivarius was a phenomenal racehorse in that he maintained his form at the highest level right through to his eight-year-old season as an entire.

“He’s been a pleasure and a joy for all of us here at Clarehaven since he arrived here in 2016.

“I’ve lost count of the number of times he was champion stayer and his achievements are unlikely to be surpassed.”

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