After a turbulent season of some incredible highs and very low lows, Frankie Dettori made the somewhat inevitable announcement late last year that the 2023 flat racing season will be the last of his glittering career — which has spanned for more than three decades in the saddle.
While his decision made headlines news, it would have come as no surprise to advocates of the sport. Dettori might still be one of the best flat jockeys there is — with several major wins in 2022 to prove that — but the Italian turned 52 in December and wants to end his time in the saddle before his powers dimmish.
That means that veteran trainer John Gosden and his son Thady, whose runners are often favoured in the horse racing bets for the biggest races in the sport, need to start drawing up suitable replacements for the Hall of Fame rider — who has been the No.1 jockey for their famed and hugely successful Clarehaven Stables since 2018.
That said, read on as we take a look at three people who could be at the top of the Gosden’s shortlist.
When Dettori and Gosden had their high-profile falling out back in the summer after a number of mistakes from the 52-year-old at the prestigious Royal Ascot, Hollie Doyle became the favourite in the horse racing tips to replace the 20-time Classic winner in the Clarehaven throne.
The 26-year-old has enjoyed some of the biggest wins of her career racing for the Gosdens, including guiding Nashwa to victory in the Prix de Diane — the French equivalent of the Oaks — as she became the first female jockey to win a Classic last summer.
Doyle is currently retained by Imad Al Sagar of Blue Diamond Stud — the owners of Nashwa — but would surely jump at the opportunity to take on one of the biggest jobs in British racing should she be offered it by the Gosdens.
James Doyle has spent the best part of the last decade playing second fiddle to the top riders at the esteemed Godolphin operation and under the guidance of trainer Charlie Appleby at their Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket.
That is, of course, a job not to be scoffed at and most jockeys would bite your hand off for the opportunity to work for one of the biggest names in the sport — it has led to Doyle winning some monumental races, after all, including the 2000 and 1000 Guineas in 2022.
However, it’s slim pickings for Doyle as he’s behind champion jockey William Buick in the pecking order. He too has a relationship with the Gosdens though, picking up some of the rides vacated by Dettori during that aforementioned short sabbatical from Claverhaven, so we’re sure Doyle will be one of the father/son duo’s top choices.
Those who watched Amazon Prime’s Horsepower will be well aware of the relationship Oisin Murphy and Andrew Balding have struck up over the years, with the Kingsclere trainer sticking by and supporting the three-time British flat racing Champion Jockey despite his controversies.
Balding and Qatar Racing — who he is currently retained by — will be excited to have Murphy back next season as his current ban from the sport ends next month, but the Irishman could be lured away from by the Gosdens come the end of 2023 if he can make it back to the top.
Again, Murphy has a fantastic relationship with the Clarehaven pair — winning the Eclipse, the International Stakes, the Irish Champions Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes aboard Roaring Lion in 2018 as the Gosden-trained colt was named the European Horse of the Year.