FRANKIE Dettori has been reminded of his promise to visit Listowel Races before he retires at the end of the year.

The 52-year-old jockey was due to ride at last year’s Harvest Festival until he received a lengthy suspension at Doncaster when riding in the St Leger which ruled him out of action for the rest of that month. At the time Listowel Racecourse issued a statement saying: “Frankie remains committed to riding at Listowel and has promised to grace us with his presence at the Harvest Festival in 2023.”

The stakes were raised a week before Christmas when Dettori announced that 2023 would be his final year in the saddle. But Listowel chairman Pat Healy remains very optimistic that his old pal won’t let him down. “When the news came out about his retirement I texted Frankie straight away to remind him of his promise to come to Listowel,” Healy said. “The town was on a high when we announced that Frankie was coming last year and it was a big disappointment when he couldn’t make it. Only the other night I was walking through the town when a couple of women queuing outside the bingo hall shouted over at me ‘Make sure to get Frankie in September’.”

Healy expects the ‘Frankie Farewell’ tour to bring bumper attendances to many racecourses this year. “If he rocks up at the likes of Ripon or Redcar, the place will be packed. It will be like going to see Lionel Messi’s final game at your local stadium. You’ll never see him again. If he comes to Listowel I’d say we could have a record attendance.”

After three years as chairman, Healy is stepping down from the post in April. “Normally the term is two years but, due to Covid, the committee granted me a third year and it was great to end on a high with the crowds back last September. It was a proud moment for me to be chairman of my home track.”