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The Epsom Derby gave Frankie Dettori nightmares for years – it won’t be the same without him

, The Epsom Derby gave Frankie Dettori nightmares for years – it won’t be the same without him

THE Epsom Derby is the race that haunted Frankie Dettori for years.

But now, as he prepares for his final ever ride in the world’s most prestigious contest, one thing is for sure.

Dettori’s dad Gianfranco taunted him for years over the Derby

, The Epsom Derby gave Frankie Dettori nightmares for years – it won’t be the same without himThe world’s most famous jockey still cannot bring himself to wear the Piaget timepiece

Whether there is the fairytale send off or not, it will never be the same again without him.

From racing in it for the first time – and coming second last – as a 21-year-old kid, to the 52-year-old dad-of-five known and loved around the world today, arguably no jockey ever has crossed over into the mainstream like the lovable Italian.

And it might just be the Epsom blockbuster with which he will be most fondly remembered when he hangs up his whip for good later this year.

Which is surprising really, given it made his life a living hell.

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It all centres around a luxury Piaget watch Frankie’s dad Gianfranco passed down to him.

His boy, the best jockey in the world, would be the proud owner of the timepiece… as soon as he won the Derby.

Dettori, who has won the race twice in 2007 and 2015, explained: “This watch must be 50 years old. My dad used to open the safe and get this famous watch out.

“He would dangle it in front of my face and say, ‘see, son, one day if you win the Epsom Derby you can have it’.

“He would wear it for one night then off again it would go, in the safe for one more year.

“He’d do it again year after year and this bloody watch kept playing on my mind.

“I ended up wanting to win the Derby just because I wanted the watch – I didn’t care about the Derby!

“Dad had to have a procedure done on his eye and the only place they could fix it was in London.

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“He came to get his eye fixed and it was the year of Authorized. Maybe he had a sixth sense. The horse wins and he gives me the watch.

“Believe it or not I’ve had it all these years and I still haven’t worn it.

“This bloody watch gave me nightmares for years. Bless him.”

Maybe Dettori will be able to slip it onto his wrist should he claim a third Derby.

Victory is hardly out of the question – and bookies are fearing the worst given the public will pile into anything he rides on this, his global farewell tour.

So keep an eye on the odds for the John Gosden-trained Arrest.

That’s who Dettori rides, from stall 13, and his 5-1 price won’t last long.

A bit like Frankie who, after all these years, is finally calling it quits.

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The Derby, Epsom… even racing, won’t be the same without him.




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