FRANKIE Dettori will not return to racecourse action until a fortnight before next year’s Derby, after the former champion jockey accepted a six-month ban handed to him by the French
FRANKIE Dettori will not return to racecourse action until a fortnight before next year’s Derby, after the former champion jockey accepted a six-month ban handed to him by the French authorities.
One of the biggest names in world racing has been given a suspension until 19 May for testing positive for a banned substance, believed to be cocaine, at a meeting at Longchamp in Paris last September.
Jurisdictions worldwide, such as the British Horseracing Authority, are expected to reciprocate the terms and the Italian-born rider’s next important date is when he will be summoned to the headquarters of France Galop to be re-tested by an appointed doctor towards the end of April.
Dettori’s suspension was backdated, as he had already been prevented from riding in France since 20 November when an independent medical commission spoke to him via a conference call and passed the file on to a disciplinary panel of the stewards at France Galop.
The French authority’s statement read: “Considering this case represents a serious violation to the rules of racing, the stewards of France Galop have issued the jockey with an authorisation to submit to a new medical examination no sooner than 20 April, 2013.
“They also decided, in agreement with the rules of racing, that jockey Lanfranco Dettori will be suspended and prohibited from riding in races as of Wednesday, 19 December, 2012 until Sunday, 19 May, 2013, included and have asked foreign racing authorities to reciprocate this suspension to their own races submitted to their own set of rules and regulations.”
The three-times British champion jockey, 41, pledged to “rebuild his reputation” in a statement released via his solicitor. It read: “France Galop have announced their finding Frankie Dettori has committed a breach of their rules relating to prohibited substances. I have spoken to Frankie 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 added: “Racing has been good to Frankie and he knows that his privileged position brings with it responsibility. 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.”
Dettori, who was cautioned by police for possession of cocaine in 1993, made the headlines in October when his 18-year association with powerful owners Godolphin came to an end, with the rider planning to operate as a freelance in 2013.
He partnered nine English Classic winners for Sheikh Mohammed’s team among a total of 110 Group or Grade One winners. Four of those that formed the rider’s “Magnificent Seven” at Ascot in 1996 belonged to trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.
Dettori is not the first to fall foul of France Galop, with Kieren Fallon banned for six months in 2006 after returning a positive test for a banned substance. France Galop then suspended him for a further 18 months after a second positive test in August 2007.
Confirming Dettori’s suspension will include Britain, Jamie Stier, director of raceday operations and regulation for the British Horseracing Authority, said: “As is routine, if requested by France Galop, we will reciprocate this ban, though Dettori of course has the right to appeal this suspension.”