NEWS

A kind of magic

Giddy-up for The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival

Zara and Mike Tindall, Nacho Figueras and wife Delfina Blaquier and the word’s leading jockey, Frankie Dettori are the big drawcards at this year’s The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival.

The winner of more than 500 Group Races, Dettori, 49, was a first-timer at the Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo event. “I’m always chasing new experiences,” he says.

On January 11, he’ll be riding in the $10 million The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Raceday.

Dettori lives near Newmarket, Suffolk, in England, with his wife Catherine and their five teenage children, Leo, Ella, Mia, Tallula, and Rocco. The jockey is lucky to be alive after a horror plane crash in 2000. Dettori and fellow jockey Ray Cochrane somehow survived when the light aircraft they were in crashed moments after take-off. “I should have been killed twice,” Dettori told racingpost.com last year. “The first time in the crash itself, and the second time had Ray [Cochrane] not pulled me from the wreckage moments before the plane exploded.”

For Dettori, returning to Australia [he was last here for the 2019 Melbourne Cup] is a chance to continue his love affair with the country. “My wife’s mother is from Bathurst, so we’ve got a strong connection to Australia and I absolutely love it,” he says. “We’ve done a lot of travelling around and the Gold Coast is
a beautiful part of the world.

“It’s the perfect combination for me, a bit of riding and a holiday. I’m especially excited about the opportunity to ride along the beaches.”

Figueras and Slater go surfing on the Gold Coast
(Credit: Luke Marsden/Magic Millions) (Credit: Luke Marsden/Magic Millions)

Providing plenty of competition on the polo field were the Queen’s granddaughter Zara and her husband, retired rugby player Mike, along with Argentine glamour couple Figueras and Blaquier.

Like Dettori, Blaquier and Figueras are enamoured of the laid-back Australian lifestyle. “Australia has all the ingredients of awesomeness!” she laughs. “Their people, the beautiful places, the food, the beaches. And, of course, the shopping (sorry, Nacho!)” For Blaquier to praise Australia means a lot. After all, the couple live on a gorgeous ranch outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina, with their four children.

Blaquier, Figueras, Dettori, Zara and Mike Tindall and former NRL champ Billy Slater might be the names the fans will come to see, but Blaquier says the real heroes are the horses themselves. “I think I love the horse more than the sport,” she admits. “They are such noble athletes and great partners.”

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