Frankie Dettori has admitted that even he still feels the pressure ahead of his ride on likely favourite Wings Of Desire in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday week.
The Italian has been there and bought several t-shirts along the way during his near-30-year career in the saddle.
Currently enjoying an Indian summer due to his link-up with John Gosden — their association brought them Derby joy with Golden Horn 12 months ago — the partnership now they have their sights set on more Classic honours.
Wings Of Desire was unraced as a two-year-old but has progressed rapidly in the first half of the season to win the Dante Stakes at York, a key Derby trial.
So quickly has he reached the required standard that Gosden was caught on the hop as the colt was originally in the Derby, only for his trainer to take him out.
He will therefore have to be supplemented on Monday at a cost of £75,000 (€98,287).
“I won it last year and fingers crossed I can do it again,” Dettori said.
“Epsom is a unique track. You rise 100 feet in the first part then you run downhill round a bend. It’s cambered right to left so it is very difficult for a horse to keep balanced.
“Only the good ones go and win the race because there are so many challenges to overcome. In our sport it is the equivalent of the Monaco Grand Prix or Wimbledon. It’s a massive event.
“Over 100,000 people come and it confirms the best horse of the generation, so it’s very important for us.
“The pressure is on (in the weighing room). To win that race it can automatically make the horse worth between £5-10m (€6.5-13m).
“There’s pressure on everyone, even I feel it. My mouth goes dry and my heart starts beating a bit faster with the anticipation.
“Obviously the atmosphere from the crowd adds to it, it’s completely different to anything else.
“I guess it will be exactly the same for the players before an FA Cup final — we all feel the tension as you really want to go out there and perform.”
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