In 2000 Frankie was awarded an honorary MBE, an honour awarded to non-British nationals. Although he has made his home here, Frankie’s Italian roots are still strong, as becomes evident when the World Cup is mentioned, and we ask if he’ll be supporting Italy.
“Yes! I am Italian! But I have been here 25 years, and England is my second team, without a doubt.”
At the time of the interview, Frankie is dividing his attention between football on television and his copy of the Racing Post.
It is the day before Ascot, and Frankie is looking at tomorrow’s races.
“[Ascot is like] our Olympics. I think this is my 23rd Ascot, actually. I missed two. One when I broke my arm, and one when I broke my leg in the plane crash. Sorry… I missed three. There was one when I was suspended because I bumped somebody and the guy fell off. They gave me a week’s suspension. It was accidental but I still moved off my line and knocked the other one over. Thank God he didn’t hurt himself, but I was responsible.
“Ascot goes on for five days. I don’t stay because I stayed in the past, and when I stay I don’t get any peace. You know, I go for breakfast and they look at me and see what I’m doing, I feel like I’m a goldfish.
It’s two hours there and two hours back, but at least I’m home. I can stay with my pyjamas on and see the kids.”
On the Friday, Frankie will fly home because he has to race in Newmarket that evening. Bearing in mind the plane crash that he mentions so casually, it would be surprising if he didn’t experience a little apprehensiveness at the prospect of taking to the air again – especially as the accident took place just before Ascot in June 2000. Frankie and fellow jockey Ray Cochrane were both injured, and the pilot died.
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