ANOTHER year, another landmark for the irrepressible Frankie Dettori.
Not just any landmark, either, as this was the year the ever-popular Italian recorded a 500th Group-race winner, on budding superstar Dabirsim at Longchamp on October 2.
In a sport perpetually searching for the next big thing, the French-trained colt remains unbeaten and a Classic campaign awaits.
In typically cool fashion on the big occasion, Dettori bided his time before the gap came in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, and when it did the turn of foot his mount showed was startling.
“I had a little bit of a panic moment at one stage as I couldn’t quite get out and at Longchamp the rail is always the best place,” Dettori said.
“Once I found a little opening then fired him up there, the horse did the rest.
“When you have good horses like that, they always get you out of trouble.
“What he did was truly remarkable.”
As short as 5-1 second favourite for the 2000 Guineas, behind another would-be wonder-horse in Camelot, not many will be expecting a performance quite like what Frankel produced at Newmarket in April.
That includes Dettori, who remains in awe of Frankel’s achievements this season.
He said: “What he did in the Guineas will be forever in my mind as one of the best performances I have ever seen.
“It compares to Dubai Millennium in the World Cup, or Sea Bird in the Arc.
“What he did that day was astonishing.
“He went on to win other great races during the season, but the Guineas win sticks out for me.”
On the subject of horses and performances that will live in the memory, Dettori is quick to salute a horse away from the Flat in Kauto Star.
Paul Nicholls’ veteran turned back the years when winning the Betfair Chase in November - a race the Dettori family were tuned into.
He said: “Wasn’t it great to see him win so well. If I had to choose a horse to ride once [over jumps] it would be him.
“I watch the good [jumps] stuff, but on Boxing Day I watch the King George no matter what.
“I made everyone in the house watch it [Kauto at Haydock].
“I think the big stuff is absolutely fabulous.
“He has always been one of my favourites, to watch him win at Haydock was a great thrill.”
In 2007, Dettori famously ended his quest for an Epsom Derby winner as Authorized cruised to glory.
The win came at the 15th attempt.
It was similar to the hoodoo that Tony McCoy, Dettori’s counterpart over jumps, laid to rest in the Grand National last year.
Dettori makes no secret of his admiration for the National Hunt game’s perennial champion.
He told At The Races: “I’m glad he is a stone heavier than me as he is just a machine.
He is phenomenal, to still have the desire to win a novice hurdle on a Monday - he is just a machine.’’