FRANKIE DETTORI admitted 'this is a first for me' as he confirmed a historic new ride just three months before his retirement.
The world's most famous jockey, 52, will hang up his saddle later this year after a glittering 36-year career.
But before he calls it quits – possibly after finishing up in Hong Kong in December – he will make his first ever trip to Northern Ireland.
Dettori will compete in the Grant Thornton Race Evening at Down Royal on Friday, September 8.
Incredibly, Dettori, who in 2021 posed in Barney Curley's famous phone box at Bellewstown, has never raced in Northern Ireland.
But speaking of his career first in his final season in the saddle, he said: "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."
Dettori, who recently sold a load of his old trophies and items for £75,000, will also host an evening with punters after racing.
Speaking of what it means to have an icon at the track, chief exec Emma Meehan said: "Frankie has never ridden in Northern Ireland so hosting him at the racetrack is such a coup for us.
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"It's one of the last opportunities for racing enthusiasts to see him compete professionally."
Dettori's final race in the UK will be at Ascot Champions Day on October 21.
The jockey plans to rent out his enormous Newmarket mansion for £15,000 a month once he is no longer riding.
He said wife Catherine had finally given in after 30 years and granted him his wish to get a flat in London.
The Dettoris also plan to travel the world before a second career in TV beckons for the charismatic Italian.
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