Queen unveils statue of Frankie Dettori at Ascot Racecourse

Queen unveils statue of Frankie Dettori at Ascot Racecourse
Queen Camilla with Frankie Dettori as she attends the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire (Lucy North/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Lucy North

The Queen has unveiled a sculpture of veteran Italian jockey Frankie Dettori at Ascot Racecourse to mark his farewell to Britain.

Camilla, wearing a brooch which belonged to the late Queen, attended QIPCO British Champions Day at the Berkshire track on Saturday.

She was assisted by members of the Greencoats, who have formed the ceremonial guard for royalty at Ascot since 1744, as she unveiled the bronze sculpture.

The work, designed by artist and sculptor Tristram Lewis, depicts Dettori mounted on a horse and is located by the Grandstand Lawn.

Dettori posed for pictures with the sculpture (John Walton/PA)Dettori posed for pictures with the sculpture (John Walton/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - John Walton

Ascot said it was cast by Fonderia Artista Art’u di Gaetano Salmista of Florence and Pemburys Fine Arts to act as a permanent reminder of the jockey’s “unparalleled contribution” to racing there.

Camilla, wearing a green dress coat by Anna Valentine and a hat by Philip Treacy, spoke to Dettori and Mr Lewis after the unveiling.

Dettori had his first ride at Royal Ascot in 1987 and recorded 81 victories at the royal meeting and 229 winners at Ascot overall.

In 1996, he rode all seven winners on the Saturday of the Festival of British Racing – a precursor to QIPCO British Champions Day.

The 52-year-old began his day of racing on Saturday with a thrilling victory aboard Trawlerman in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot, later winning the Champion Stakes with King of Steel on the final ride of his British career. He will now move to America.

He said: “Ascot has been everything to me – my first Group 1 winner when I was 19 – it is where it all started and concludes with nine Gold Cups, seven King Georges, 81 winners at Royal Ascot and hopefully some victories today.

The Queen at Ascot (John Walton/PA)The Queen at Ascot (John Walton/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - John Walton

“It’s wonderful to be immortalised at such a great track, and to have your own statue while you are still alive, wow.

“Tristram Lewis has created a humbling tribute, and I would like to thank him, Ascot Racecourse and all those that have supported this impactful artwork.”

The idea for the sculpture was initiated in 2019, with the process beginning in December 2021.

A UK foundry produced the first two-quarter scale casts, one going to the Jockey Club and the other being displayed at Royal Ascot in 2022 and 2023.

Mr Lewis said: “It was a real pleasure to be able to work on this project and bring it to life.

“Ascot holds a special place in my heart and I’m hugely grateful to Sir Francis Brooke and everybody at the racecourse for their help along this journey.

“Frankie was great to work with, an incredibly professional model, and I am thrilled with the overall result.”

Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates on Trawlerman after winning the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (John Walton/PA)Frankie Dettori celebrates on Trawlerman after winning the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (John Walton/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - John Walton

Sir Francis, His Majesty’s representative and chairman at Ascot, said the piece celebrated Dettori’s career at the track.

“Frankie has been such a huge part of racing at Ascot over the last 35 years and this unique sculpture will ensure a lasting tribute to his success is permanently in place at the racecourse,” Sir Francis said.

“I am sure it will be hugely popular with racegoers in the years to come and we are extremely grateful to all the contributors for their support in making this happen, and of course to Tristram who has so expertly delivered the project from start to finish.”

During her visit to Ascot on Saturday, Camilla judged the Best Turned Out in the parade ring before presenting trophies for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, who identified the land as ideal for horse racing while riding out from Windsor Castle.

The first four-day meeting there took place in 1768, with the race programme later referred to as Royal Ascot.

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