FRANKIE DETTORI described winning on his comeback ride from a broken ankle at Lingfield as a "fairytale" as he gears up for what promises to be another momentous year in his incredible career.
Back months ahead of the initial prognosis from the accident at Nottingham on October 2 which ruled him out of the winning Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe ride on Treve, Dettori galvanised Eco Warrior home from the front in the coral.co.uk Median Auction Maiden Stakes.
As always, the 43-year-old, who served a six-month ban for being found guilty of taking a prohibited substance last year, added his unmistakable brand of glamour to proceedings, signing autographs and spraying young participants of the Racing To School initiative with champagne on the podium before going on to complete a double on the second of three booked mounts.
"I'm knackered," he said with a smile as he returned to Eco Warrior's trainer John Hills, having made nearly all the running over a mile and a half and pushing the 8/1 shot out a neck in front of the 10/11 favourite Wilhana.
Dettori then happily expanded on his hopes for the coming season to the waiting media: "It's silly but I was nervous this morning. As much as I would be riding in a big race.
"I'm probably back about a week or 10 days before I'd planned but some good horses are coming up now so I had to speed up my routine.
"I've got a mechanical horse and I've got no pain, it's just trying to get my strength back and there's nothing like race-riding."