This is just the injection of positivity the channel required after taking a kick in from some since The Guardian reported on disappointing viewing figures for the Derby at Epsom. It’s good news for those who selfishly yearn for racing to survive on free to air television. People like me.
As when a football club makes a high profile pre-season signing that results in increased season ticket sales, I hope the Frankie factor attracts more viewers to C4 Racing. You couldn’t get a more determined and dedication production team in television and I want them to succeed.
Well done C4 for signing Frankie. Please use him correctly. No falling at his feet.
In years gone by presenters past and present have been guilty of fawning. Even his mea culpa, post drugs ban interview with Clare Balding was a little too soft and soft focus for my liking.
Other appearances by Frankie on C4 have been more informative and enlightening. Dettori has proved that if he is asked more searching questions he can answer them in an authoritative manner. For too long the concentration has been on flying dismounts, how many children he has, how smartly he dresses and a smile that is turned on like a light bulb. Being Italian, it’s hardly surprising that Frankie can be moody, that he dresses well, is good looking, fit and has a winning smile. But there is more to Dettori than that.
He has far more to offer. Have him enlighten viewers regarding the aspects of being a jockey many will not know about or understand. Frankie has plenty to say. Off camera he has passionately held feelings about the sport as a whole and about how racing can be improved for those who, like him, love it. So let’s get him to express those feelings on camera.
The Dettori factor did, at his peak in the saddle, attract people to go racing. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the on course bookies. They’ve taken plenty of bets on horses simply because they were ridden by Frankie.
He’s not getting any younger and his opportunities to win races have diminished after he was dumped by Godolphin. The break up of a love affair that broke his heart.
Godolphin grew weary of having to employ one man to deal with Frankie’s mood swings. And they were concerned that Frankie was swapping the winning habit for an altogether more dangerous one.
Godolphin fell out of love with Frankie Dettori. The occasional racegoer has not.
When the day comes that Frankie weighs in for the last time he is going to miss the sport. He will have withdrawal symptoms. He loves his job and, for years, spectators and punters loved him.
I’ve had my gripes with him over the years but it would be churlish to deny that, at his best and especially when riding from the front, he was one of the best flat racing jockeys of my lifetime.
It annoyed me that the happy-go-lucky image so often masked what a good jockey he has been. Still is. After all, only last month he was riding a winner for members of my selections service. And not just any winner. His 200th Group 1 triumph came on Olympic Glory in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. So he’s clearly not past it.
That he has his dark side was widely known by those in the sport. Some in the media protected him and his image until such time as he made it impossible to do so.
Possibly the best thing that happened to Frankie was that he got caught and banned. He appears to be more at ease with himself and life these days.
His employment by C4 could be a win-win situation for all concerned. I certainly hope so.