In the midst of party conference season, Frankie Dettori sounds like a politician imploring the electorate with a rousing call for support.
‘Five more years,’ chants the 47-year-old Italian who on Sunday will chase a remarkable sixth win in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, as well as a second successive victory on John Gosden-trained super-filly Enable.
But this is no appeal rally for votes. It is Dettori’s retort to the rumours that reached a crescendo on Derby Day at Epsom in June that the best-known name in British horseracing was dramatically going to hang up his saddle – and not so much retreat into retirement as sprint off to find his pipe and slippers.
Dettori emphatically denied it back in midsummer and now is going even further.
Having previously stated he wanted to ride until he was 50, Dettori is now thinking even more long-term and reckons his plan is achievable thanks to a working regime his boss and good friend Gosden has allowed him to follow.
The jockey, who landed the first of his three championships in 1994, said: ‘Those rumours took me by surprise. Retiring Derby day? That’s a bit silly, isn’t it? I’ll be 50 in 26 months’ time. If I can, I will carry on another five years. I don’t want to retire.
‘I am very lucky I have a boss like John. He understands me. He’d rather have me at the weekend when I am up for it rather than flogging around the country when I am not interested.’
Dettori, who was 16 when he rode his first winner, added: ‘I can’t get a buzz by going around Windsor on a Monday any more. But on Fridays and Saturdays, in front of a big crowd, I come alive. It’s the way I am and after 31 years, that’s the way my mind works. Twenty years ago, I was more eager to win every race. The everyday stuff doesn’t turn me on any more.
‘We have plenty of jockeys in the stable. Rab (Havlin), my good friend, does an extremely good job to fill in my gaps. It works.
‘Everyone is happy. He makes a living, I am enjoying myself. I keep myself fit in the gym. We kind of worked it out together. Hopefully, it will give me another three or four years longevity.
‘I am cutting the risk of getting hurt and am more enthusiastic when there is something there to be chased. It keeps me mentally fresh.’ It is Enable, bidding to become the seventh filly or mare to win the Arc in the last eight years, who is making the Dettori juices flow at the moment.
She became Dettori’s record fifth Arc winner last year with an emphatic defeat of Cloth of Stars.