Gosden and Dettori - racing's top 'trust' fund

3 min

London (AFP)

John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori's formidable partnership is built on "absolute trust" the trainer told AFP ahead of Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday which they are likely to dominate with another tour de force.

This bond between two contrasting characters, Gosden, the erudite Cambridge economics graduate, and the exuberant 47-year-old Italy-born Dettori has been built on rock solid foundations.

Gosden, 67, has twice come to Dettori's rescue when his career was on the decline -- the first time in 1993 he saw a lucrative contract to ride in Hong Kong cancelled after British police cautioned him for possession of cocaine.

"Any combination of jockey and trainer has to be one of total trust and self-belief but also very much about how to deal with difficult times," Gosden suggested at Europe's leading bloodstock sales company Tattersalls in Newmarket on Tuesday.

"The trainer has to be reassuring to a jockey if they see them wandering into the wrong areas and I am not talking about him riding work or at the races.

"As a young man he (Dettori) went through a difficult stage he was going to Hong Kong and they wouldn't have him having been caught with something in his sock.

"Frankie was young, he was very young, and now he is a little older and wiser."

Gosden -- who with Dettori has the favourites in the raceday that carries over £4million in prizemoney in three races with Cracksman (Champion Stakes), La Ti Dar (Fillies and Mares) and Stradivarius (Stayers) -- said Dettori was no different to other sportsmen who enjoyed success at a young age.

"I equate it to a young boxer who had some success and collects a whole set of hangers on," said Gosden.

"They (the hangers on) have a good way of burning through the money and taking you to a lot of the wrong places and when you are young and have a lot of money one has to be wary of that and Frankie was no exception."

Gosden, who with Dettori on board trained Enable to her second successive Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe this month, said the Italian had repaid his faith in him.

- 'Pole is very slippery' -

He regularly rode over 200 winners a season and landed two successive jockeys championships (1994/95) as he rode for Gosden when he was not required by Dubai-based powerhouse the Godolphin Operation.

"He had a work ethic and he has always had that," said Gosden.

"As an athlete he is a phenomenal athlete and he on a horse physiologically they are as one."

Gosden has enjoyed a succession of triumphs with Dettori since he once again came to his rescue in 2015 after a miserable few years following an annus horribilis in 2012, falling out with Godolphin after 18 years and a six month suspension for failing a dope test in France.

"He was in freefall and a rather sad two years scrapping round for any ride he could get," said Gosden, who recalls as if it was yesterday offering him a second coming on Remembrance Sunday, November 11 2014.

"Then in 2015 our first year back together we had Golden Horn (won the Epsom Derby and the Arc) and he was back in business."

Gosden, who has the hotly-fancied Roaring Lion in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes but with Oisin Murphy in the saddle, says these days Dettori's talents are best served on the big stage.

"When he is on his game he can take it to another level, when he is inspired," said Gosden.

"That would not be a wet Monday at Brighton racecourse, that doesn't suit him.

"Longchamp for example does take his riding to another level."

Gosden acknowledges one day the glorious run could come to a halt because winners dry up for him.

"It is a great way of life but the pole is very slippery," he said.

"It is not a bed of roses, there are certainly some thorns in it."