A telephone call to legendary jockey Frankie Dettori has given Italian young gun Andrea Atzeni a valuable Melbourne Cup carnival insight.
The 23-year-old Atzeni rides Farraaj in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on Saturday and he has the mount on My Ambivalent in the Melbourne Cup.
Both horses are prepared by Roger Varian, who, like Atzeni, is on his first trip to Melbourne.
Atzeni said he had spoken to a number of jockeys, including Dettori, on what to expect at Flemington and was looking forward to the experience of riding in the Melbourne Cup.
“I’ve always watched it on TV so to be here is great for me, a new experience,” Atzeni said.
“It means a lot to a jockey like myself. I’m only 23 and I’ve only just started to travel around the world.
“Obviously speaking to jockeys, the likes of Frankie, they’ve explained to me what it’s like.”
After beginning his career in Milan with Alduino Botti, father of Newmarket trainer Marco Botti, Atzeni sits third on the UK jockeys’ premiership behind Richard Hughes and Cox Plate-winning rider Ryan Moore.
With 454 career wins, Atzeni takes up a position with Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing next year.
“Things are going great, my confidence is high,” he said.
Atzeni said he would walk the Mackinnon Stakes course with Varian.