Oisin Murphy relieved Frankie Dettori stuck to his word

Oisin Murphy has revealed that Frankie Dettori told him in Dubai earlier this year that he wouldn’t be riding at Royal Ascot – and Murphy is relieved the legendary jockey has stuck to his word.

Murphy was speaking to the Racing Post for a major interview in Sunday’s newspaper in which he discusses the pick of his mounts at Royal Ascot, the benefits of the ongoing counselling sessions he began in the wake of his year-long ban from riding and his frustration at not being further ahead in his pursuit of a fourth British Flat jockeys’ championship.

Murphy will be hoping to extend that lead at Royal Ascot, where his book of rides is helped by not competing with Dettori, who reversed his retirement decision last year to continue his career in the US. However, he has decided against riding at the royal meeting next week.

"Frankie told me in Dubai that he wasn't going to ride there, because he didn't think it was the right thing to do after he'd retired from British racing, and I'm kind of glad,” said Murphy.

“He's giving younger guys and girls an opportunity. He'd have taken me off a few horses, and other people as well, so I'm glad he's taking that approach."

Dettori’s absence from the royal meeting seemingly confirms the curtain has indeed come down on his career in Britain, leaving a big hole in the sport in the public consciousness that some have suggested other jockeys now need to fill. Not according to Murphy, though.

"It doesn't even cross my mind that the rest of us need to step up to replace him," he said. "He rode for the powerhouses of British racing throughout his career and built up a celebrity profile to go with it, and I'm not capable of that. Other riders will make their own profiles but they won't be like his.

"Of course British racing will miss him but it'll give others an opportunity to find their role, their niche in the ecosystem."