Andrea Atzeni hails from a family with no background in racing and when he arrived in Britain, aged 17, he spoke no English.
It has not stopped him from becoming one of the top jockeys in the world – a rider who never looks ruffled and thrives on the big occasion.
Atzeni hails from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia and grew up pony racing. He emigrated to mainland Italy to start work for Milan trainer Alduino Botti at the age of 15 and two years later moved to England to join the stable of Botti’s son, Marco.
These days he works for one of the most powerful around in the shape of Roger Varian’s yard in Newmarket and he is retained to ride by leading owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid.
His link with the latter has resulted in cherished days with such as Postponed, winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot by a nose in 2015, plus the Investec Coronation Cup and Juddmonte International the following year (see above).
Atzeni finished runner-up aboard the Varian-trained Kingston Hill in the 2014 Investec Derby and went one better on that horse in the Pertemps St Leger. He won that Classic for a second time 12 months later on Simple Verse for Qatar Racing, who at the time he was No 1 jockey for.
He has twice won the Goodwood Cup on superstar stayer Stradivarius and his exploits on QIPCO British Champions Day include landing the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on Simple Verse.
The 29-year-old chalked up his 1,000th British success in 2020, with 112 of those being in Group or Listed races.