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. He’s known for his unflappability and is definitely a man for the big occasion.
Andrea 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 is best known for his association to the powerful Roger Varian yard in Newmarket.
His link leading owner Sheikh Mohammad Obaid has resulted in many cherished days. Smart colt Postponed won 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 also finished runner-up aboard the Varian-trained Kingston Hill in the 2014 Investec Derby and then went one better on that horse in the St Leger.
The rider would win that Classic for a second time 12 months later on Simple Verse for the Qatar Racing outfit.
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.