THE Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) is delighted to include Down Royal Racecourse in the column this week and to feature their hugely exciting plans for racing and a special event at the northern track’s September 8th race meeting.

On that day the Italian star among flat race jockeys, and one of the most decorated sportsmen of all time, is set to make his Northern Ireland racing debut at Down Royal, and the event is just a few short weeks away.

Frankie Dettori MBE, a Longines World’s Best Jockey award winner and successful in over 3,000 races during his illustrious career, will take to the saddle for the first time on Northern Ireland turf, at the Grant Thornton Race Evening on Friday, September 8th.

As well as entertaining the crowds on the racetrack itself, Frankie will star in what will surely be an unforgettable evening of anecdotes and humour at the exclusive ‘Evening with Frankie Dettori’ in Down Royal’s premium Shortcross Gin Suite. Frankie will share remarkable stories from his illustrious racing career, including the Godolphin years, some of his proudest and record-breaking achievements, his MBE, his medal for being made a Commedatore in Italy, big wins including the ‘magnificent seven’ at Ascot, the Breeders’ Cup, St Leger and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe wins, and, of course, his plans for life after retirement from the saddle.

Emma Meehan, chief executive of Down Royal Racecourse, is really excited about the visit. She said: “Securing Frankie Dettori to not only take part in a question and answer session, but to actually race at Down Royal, is quite the feather in our cap! In a career spanning over 35 years, Frankie has never ridden in Northern Ireland, so hosting him at the racetrack is such a coup for us, and one of the last opportunities for racing enthusiasts here to see him compete professionally.

Flying dismount

“Frankie’s fans will be hoping to catch a glimpse of him perform one of his trademark flying dismounts in the Down Royal winner’s enclosure, and those fans who purchase a ticket to the evening audience will also have the chance to put their questions to Frankie and get up close and personal in photographs with the Italian racing champion.”

Frankie Dettori added: “I’ve had a fantastic career that has seen me race across the globe, but believe it or not I’ve never ridden in Northern Ireland, so this is a first for me. I want to extend a huge thank you to Emma and her team at Down Royal Racecourse for their kind invitation to not only compete on Irish turf, but to host an evening of great craic with my Irish fans.”

The 52-year-old Dettori announced his retirement at the end of 2022, and his last race in Britain will be at Ascot on October 21st, British Champions Day. He has since announced that his final farewell to professional racing could take place in Hong Kong.

Keenly priced

Tickets for ‘An Evening with Frankie Dettori’ are keenly priced at £55 per person and the package includes your admission ticket, a premier enclosure badge with access to the Shortcross Gin Suite from the time the gates open, a race card, a pint and a £5 matched bet.

For full details on the Grant Thornton Race Evening and to purchase tickets to the very special and certain to sell out quickly event, please visit the website

The Association of Irish Racecourses wish Emma Meehan and all her team at Down Royal Racecourse the very best of luck ahead of their exciting upcoming meeting.