Incredible story of Frankie Dettori ‘Magnificent Seven’ that cost bookies huge £30 million on 25 year anniversary

FRANKIE DETTORI’S life changed in one afternoon 25 years ago when he rode the ‘Magnificent Seven.’

Seven races at Ascot all went the way of Dettori, then 25, and to this day it remains one of the most memorable fixtures of all time.

Times Newspapers LtdDettori remains one of the best jockeys in the world to this day[/caption]

The fresh-faced Italian was already Champion Jockey but soon became much, much more famous.

The bookies went into hiding after a £30 million loss while punter Darren Yates backed all Dettori’s rides to the tune of £550,000.

It became the only story in town and changed the face of the sport in a matter of hours. Dettori is still going strong at 50 and can recall most of the day.

He said: “I remember most of it… The next day I opened the door to get the Sunday paper, I was in my T-shirt and underpants and the crowd was three deep outside my house – paparazzi, TV crews – I thought, ‘oh my God!’.

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“My life changed because of that day as I wasn’t just recognised by the racing fraternity, but also by people outside the racing world.

“That day changed a lot for me and changed racing too. It was just a fantastic day.”

Dettori had the bookies on the backfoot early on with his four rides for Godolphin all well-backed.

Six winners in and Dettori had equalled the record at a British fixture, it was all on the last and the Italian thought he had no chance.

PA:Press AssociationPunter Darren Yates was in the money after Dettori’s antics[/caption]

Frankie Dettori’s Magnificent Seven

Wall Street 2-1
Diffident 12-1
Mark Of Esteem 100-30
Decorated Hero 7-1
Fatefully 7-4
Lochangel 5-3
Fujiyama Quest 2-1


Punters thought otherwise and backed Fujiyama Quest – a horse with no win in well over a year – from 12-1 into the 7-4 favourite.

Dettori said: “Never in a million years did I expect Fujiyama Crest to win. I was very relaxed because I just couldn’t possibly see the horse winning.

“He was without a win for a year, was out of form and was a 12-1 shot, but the rest is history, he won, and that day changed my life forever.”

Only sole bookie Gary Wiltshire also believed Dettori’s last mount had no chance whatsoever.

As his rivals ducked and hoped punters would go elsewhere, Wiltshire stood proud on his stand at Ascot and offered as big as 11-4 for the horse.

It cost him massively – to the tune of £1.4 million. Wiltshire would have to sell his house and cars and it took him four years to pay off his debts to punters and other bookies who were trying to get out a hole.

Wiltshire said: “I wasn’t actually meant to be standing at Ascot that day.

“I was on my way to Worcester races, but there was a big accident on the M40 so we turned around and went to Ascot. The rest, as they say, is history.

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“I was winning after the first five races, and then it suddenly dawned on me going into the last the scale of what could happen because of all the accumulators rolling on.

“His last horse Fujiyama Crest was a 20-1 chance in the morning, but I laid it at 3-1 and it was backed into 2-1. 

“The only saving grace was that the race went off on time. If it had been delayed another five minutes, I would have lost two houses instead of one!

“I lost over a million on that race alone. I had to sell the house and some cars and was back to working eight days a week.

“I had to stand at every race meeting going and was back working as a barrow boy in the market in London.

“It took me four years to pay off my debts, but would I do it all again? Of course I would, because of the thrill of it.”

Read Frankie Dettori’s blog at Sporting Index

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