Frankie Dettori has performed an amazing U-turn on his plans to retire from race riding and will instead continue his career in America next year.
The 52-year-old was set to hang up his saddle at the end of 2023, with his final rides in the UK scheduled to be on British Champions Day next Saturday.
However, a successful ‘farewell tour’ has prompted the Italian jockey to carry on, primarily in the United States, but also with mounts in the Middle East.
Dettori, who was in London on Thursday to mark what will be his final day riding in the UK on Champions Day at Ascot, told the Nick Luck Daily podcast: “I announced my retirement 10 months ago, I thought that would give me plenty of time to say my farewells and then I headed to California.
“I had an amazing four months there, finished second in the standings, it was amazing.
“I then came back to Europe, won the Guineas, had Royal Ascot wins and other big wins and that tickled my emotions.
“Now, as we come to October 21, what will be my final day in England, I had second thoughts, discussed with my wife and my parents that I want to carry on a little bit longer in California, where I had such a lovely winter.”
He went on: “The dynamic of my year has changed so much, if I wasn’t riding any winners or in the big races it would have made my decision much easier but at this point I’m still feeling good and I’ve got to get it out of my system.
“It’s very painful to just let go but I am retiring from Europe but carrying on for a little bit longer in the USA.
“Some of my closest friends came up with the idea in the summer, I applied for a Visa and that has been accepted and me and my wife Catherine are going to move full time to Los Angeles.
“I’ll do the same thing as last year but this time I’m going to stay there for good. When I say that, it could be three months or three years but I want to give it a good go on the USA circuit and in Dubai, Saudi when they come along – the dream is to find a horse for the Kentucky Derby.
“A lot of things changed this year and that’s why I came to my decision.
“I’ve probably had as good a year as I’ve ever had, I still feel good physically and I’ve just got to get it out of me. Going to California suits me, we don’t have to travel, the weather is good and my weight is good.
“I’d find it very difficult to just stop and there’s more inside of me I want to give.
“My focus is on America, I don’t want to go half-hearted, there will be no Guineas for me next year, I want a horse for the Kentucky Derby, I’m giving America my full commitment. Now my kids can look after themselves, I want to travel and that excites me, unchartered waters.”