Dettori affected the brand like no other before him. He is known all over the world. The flamboyant Italian has achieved almost everything that can be achieved in the saddle.
Now 52, Dettori is almost done punching the clock and his weigh-in room colleague Tom Marquand insists there won’t be anyone who can do the same for the sport’s visibility.
“I don’t think anyone can fill the void that Frankie is going to leave, because he is Frankie,” Marquand said.
“He’s someone who won’t be replaced, not just because of his accomplishments but also the way he’s going about it – it’s Frankie, no one else will be Frankie. Anyone others may try, but they won’t succeed.”
Marquand, 24, married fellow countrywoman Hollie Doyle in March last year. The couple, who met while pony racing, have been dubbed the ‘Golden Couple’ of racing.
They shared the spoils behind William Buick in the Flat Jockeys Championship last season, each riding 91 winners between the Guineas meet and Champions Day. The two picked up a trio of wins in Group One.
The fact that both Hollie and Tom are extremely good at their jobs and are very friendly, professional and generous with their time makes this a marketing dream.
Becoming A-list race celebrities was never part of the plan. Marquand says he’s not used to it yet and feels even less like he deserves it.
“We never really went out of our way to do anything,” he said.
“We never really chased him. We recognize that the sport needs to be promoted and if we are doing well it is our job to support riding and we recognize that. It’s not something we consider as we can boost our careers by doing it. It’s part of the job. »
The pair raged while competing against each other in Japan recently.
“It’s one of the places everyone in the race should try to visit,” he adds. “It’s an amazing country and we would both go back there in a heartbeat.”
Hollie faces a spell on the sidelines, after breaking her left elbow in a fall in Wolverhampton, so Tom prepares to fly solo to Australia, a trip that could end up lasting nearly three months .
He rode eight winners last time out in New South Wales in 2021, which included partnering now-retired Addeybb to victory in the Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes for the second time.
Marquand will team up with trainer William Haggas, who will send four horses to the six-week Sydney Autumn Carnival, which features 18 Group One competitions worth over £22million.
Group 2 winners Dubai Honor and Purplepay will join handicappers Earl Of Tyrone and Protagonist, both held by Melbourne Cup-winning syndicate Australian Bloodstock. He is also expected to get plenty of rides from local coaches.
However, Marquand, who has ridden 42 winners in total in his last three visits to Sydney, admits the trip, which sees him make his first races on February 4, could be emotionally difficult.
“We know how lucky we are to have opportunities like going to Hong Kong and Japan together because they are so hard to come by,” he said.
“Hollie and I are competing as individuals. It’s an interesting dynamic.
“I would be one of the most competitive people ever and Hollie would be the same – you take a tennis racket and you want to win a game of tennis, take a golf club you want to win a game of golf .
“Probably because it’s so volatile in the racing world with your results – one day you can ride a hat-trick or ride a St Leger winner and then go to Wolverhampton the next day for six races and do nothing better. than a 0-65 horsepower – that’s what keeps you grounded.
“Between us, because we also experience each other’s ups and downs, it evens out even more.
“It helps the relationship. In reality, it was sometimes quite difficult. It will happen in a few weeks. I’m going to want to go to Australia and if Hollie wasn’t injured she would be riding here – and it’s tough having two months out.
“I know other jockeys experience that, but they ask their wives to come and spend a week or a month or something, when we don’t really understand that unless it’s like Japan , where we have to go together – and this is the first time this has happened in more than a few days.
“So that makes it difficult in some elements. I don’t know if she’ll come, but it’s one of those things.
“But if we were to play our respective careers against each other, it wouldn’t work because neither of us would succeed, so you both have to go there as individuals. We managed to make it work. »
When Hollie’s injury heals, the sport’s dream team will battle it out on the track again, worrying about who’s doing the dishes and ironing later.
“We will not side. Even in pony racing, that never really came into play,” adds Marquand.
“At the end of the day, we both want to win, but we fully believe that if you don’t win personally, you hope it’s her and she’s the same.
“Obviously she would rather beat me than finish second, but not because it’s me – it’s because she wants to win and I’m the same.”
The couple will continue to push and support each other, and that couldn’t make race marketing executives happier. Without Frankie, the show must go on.
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