Frankie Dettori pays tribute to the Queen as racing has 'lost its greatest friend'

Frankie Dettori said racing has "lost its greatest friend" as he paid a heartfelt tribute to the Queen.

The three-time champion jockey praised Her Majesty's dedication to racing and to a life of service, highlighting her depth of knowledge.

The monarch's passion for horse racing brought her five Classics and 24 Royal Ascot winners during 70 years as an owner and a breeder.

Dettori had a long association with the Queen's famous silks, with his greatest success coming aboard Phantom Gold in the Ribblesdale Stakes at the Royal meeting in 1995.

"It was undoubtedly one of my career highlights - it was such a great occasion and it was always a privilege to ride for Her Majesty," Dettori said.

"She was an incredible lady. I have been riding for the Queen for the last 30 years. She was such a special person and she had a great sense of humour.

"Her knowledge of racing was incredible and her dedication to her horses was plain for everyone to see. She loved her horses and loved the breeding side of things, seeing them develop and race, and then breed from them. She knew the families inside out."

Dettori, whose own career in the saddle has spanned five decades, rode over 50 winners for the Queen.

He added: "It was always a special feeling to put on those silks.

"Though I am an Italian, I've lived in Newmarket for over 35 years - I'm part of the furniture - and always felt a huge sense of responsibility and pride riding for Her Majesty.

"Whenever you rode a winner for her, you could almost burst with pride. It was emotional at times.

"She had such a passion about racing and I was lucky enough to have so many conversations with her about the sport that we both loved.

"Her knowledge was vast and you could see the pleasure she got from talking about horses. I treasure the conversations I was very fortunate enough to have with her.

"She knew the form and could list generations of pedigrees without any reference to the stud book, and she knew the personalities and traits of every horse.

"Racing has lost its greatest friend. She was such a massive supporter of the sport, but more than that, the country's loss will be immeasurable. It is a very sad day for everybody.

"Her Majesty served the country with such incredible dedication. She was a truly remarkable lady and I feel very privileged to have been in the company of such an amazing person."

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