Dettori lands six-month riding ban over failed drug test at Longchamp
11:53 GMT, 5 December 2012
Frankie Dettori, the best known jockey in British racing, has been banned from riding for six months by the French racing authorities after his failed drugs test at Longchamp on September 16.
The worldwide ban, which has been backdated to November 20, will keep the 41-year-old three-time champion out of action until May 19.
It has been reported that the substance was cocaine and Dettori’s ban matches that of Kieren Fallon who was also suspended for six months on the first of the two occasions he tested positive for the drug while riding in France in 2006.
Positive: Frankie Dettori failed a drug test after riding at Longchamp on September 16
It means the Dettori will miss the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas next season and most of the important Classic trials.
But he will able to return in time for the both the Oaks, Derby and important Royal Ascot fixture.
Dettori’s solicitor Christopher Stewart-Moore said: ‘I have spoken to Frankie since the announcement was made and he has told me he fully accepts France Galop's decision.
‘He also accepts that he has let down the sport he loves and all those associated with it, as well as the wider public.
‘But most of all, and this is his greatest regret, he has let down his wife and children.
'He is enormously grateful for the opportunities that he has been given by owners and trainers over the years, and for the support of his many fans.
‘Racing has been good to Frankie and he knows that his privileged position brings with it responsibility.
Waiting game: Frankie Dettori is facing a ban of six months for a failed drugs test
‘For this reason he is determined to rebuild his reputation when he returns to the saddle.
‘Frankie could make excuses. He has, after all, regularly been tested for prohibited substances throughout his career.
‘He is clear, however, that the responsibility for his current situation lies squarely with him.
‘From the start of France Galop's inquiry he has acknowledged to them he has made a mistake and that the fault was his.
‘Finally, he has asked me to thank everyone for the many messages of support he and his family have received.’
France Galop announced Dettori’s suspension 24 hours after the jockey’s case had been heard by its Stewards’ Committee in Paris.
That hearing came a fortnight after the Medical Committee of France Galop ruled Dettori had a case to answer and just over three weeks after it first emerged on November 13 that Dettori had produced a positive test.
The jockey did not attend either hearing but gave evidence to the Medical Committee via a conference call during which it is understood he expressed a desire to rebuild his career.
Just how hard that will be, Dettori is about to find out.
Unseated: Dettori has been banned from racing for six months
The most vivacious and engaging personality in racing should be able to work his way back into the sport. Other jockeys, like Fallon, have proved that after a positive drug test.
The situation surrounding Dettori’s lapse – the erosion and ultimate ending of his position within Sheik Mohammed’s Godolphin empire – will elicit sympathy in some quarters and his ability as a jockey will ensure there will be owners and trainers happy to book one of the sport’s most naturally-gifted talents.
But the extended absence from the sport comes at a time when, post Godolphin, Dettori had hoped to establish himself as the go-to freelance rider in British racing and, maybe, even challenge for a fourth championship.
Potential rides will have to be offered to rivals and possibly be lost forever.
The rebuilding of Dettori’s wider image will certainly be difficult. The happy-go-lucky image of the father of five has been tainted.
Battler: Dettori is determined to bounce back
Dettori produced the positive test on the day he had four unsuccessful mounts at Longchamp on Arc trials day.
It came 24 hours after Encke had won the St Leger at Doncaster for his then employers Godolphin.
The colt had been ridden by young French jockey Mickael Barzalkona, whose promotion within the Sheik Mohammed operation had increasingly undermined Dettori, who had lost his status as the stable’s No 1 jockey.
There has been speculation that the disappointment of missing the Leger winner – Dettori had finished third on John Gosden’s Michelangelo – may have led to a moment of madness from an emotional athlete at a low ebb.
Rumours of a split from Godolphin had circulated before the Derby in June when the huge operation failed to find a runner for Dettori to ride and handed the mount on Kailani, their only representative in the Oaks, to Barzalona.
Dettori’s only group one winner in Britain for Godolphin this season was Colour Vision in the Ascot Gold Cup and his paltry return of 51 winners was his worst since his plane crash season in 2000.
The split finally did come when Dettori chose to ride Aidan O’Brien-trained Camelot in the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe in October, a horse owned by Ireland’s Coolmore Stud, the Sheik’s big sporting and commercial rival.
It appeared a calculated act which inevitably led to the announcement that Dettori’s hugely-successful 18-year association with Godolphin would end at the close of the 2012 season.
His last ride for the stable proved to be his final mount before his ban when unplaced on Cavalryman in the Melbourne Cup on November 6.
FRANKIE DETTORI FACTFILE
Born: Milan, December 15, 1970
Father: Multiple Italian champion jockey Gianfranco Dettori
Apprenticed to: Luca Cumani
First winner: Rif, Turin, Nov 16, 1986
First winner in Britain: Lizzy Hare, Goodwood, June 9, 1987.
Champion apprentice: 1989
Champion jockey: 1994, 1995, 2004
Married to: Catherine, five children (three girls, two boys)
Other information: Went through the card with seven winners at Ascot in September, 1996.
Survived a plane crash at Newmarket in 2000.
Has his name on a selection of Italian-style foods. Chain of restaurants in London – Frankie's Italian Bar & Grill.
Television: Former team captain on A Question Of Sport
British Classic wins: Derby – Authorized (2007).
Oaks – Balanchine (1994), Moonshell (1995), Kazzia (2002).
St Leger – Classic Cliche (1995), Shantou (1996), Scorpion (2005), Sixties Icon (2006), Conduit (2008).
2000 Guineas – Mark Of Esteem (1996), Island Sands (1999).
1000 Guineas – Cape Verdi (1998), Kazzia (2002), Blue Bunting (2011).