5:42pm Thursday 6th December 2012
FRANKIE DETTORI last night pledged to ‘‘rebuild his reputation’’ after he has served a six-month ban for taking a prohibited substance when riding in France.
The three-times British champion jockey, 41, tested positive for what is believed to be cocaine following a routine examination at Longchamp on September 16.
Dettori’s suspension, from French racing authority France Galop, runs from November 20 to May 19 and is likely to be reciprocated by racing jurisdictions worldwide, including by the British Horseracing Authority.
In a statement, his solicitor Christopher Stewart-Moore said: ‘‘France Galop have today announced their finding Frankie Dettori has committed a breach of their rules relating to prohibited substances.
‘‘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.’’ The Italian-born rider will be back in time to feature in the Derby and the Oaks at Epsom – and at Royal Ascot in June.
Dettori, who will be 42 on December 15, had four rides at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trials meeting, after which the sample was returned.
The case was then put before an independent medical commission in Paris on November 20, where Dettori spoke via conference call, but it was announced a day later that he was temporarily suspended from competing in France on medical grounds.
The file was passed on to a disciplinary panel of the stewards at France-Galop, which was held on Tuesday, and Stewart-Moore said his client had received ‘‘a sympathetic hearing’’.
Stewart-Moore said: ‘‘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.
‘‘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.’’ 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 in the royal blue silks, including their first in 1994 Oaks victor Balanchine, and a total of 110 Group or Grade One winners for the owner.
A host of Dettori’s big-race winners have been trained by Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor, including four of those that formed the rider’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ at Ascot on September 28, 1996.
Dettori is not the first to fall foul of the French authority, with Kieren Fallon banned six months by France Galop in 2006 after returning a positive test for a metabolite of a banned substance.
France Galop then suspended him a further 18 months after a second positive test in August 2007.
Jamie Stier, director of raceday operations and regulation for the BHA, said: ‘‘We are aware that a sixmonth suspension has been imposed on Frankie Dettori by France Galop after a positive test for a banned substance.
‘‘As is routine if requested by France Galop we will reciprocate this ban, though Dettori of course first has the right to appeal this suspension.’’ France Galop said in a statement Dettori must be retested by an appointed doctor on April 20 next year.
France Galop have requested Dettori’s suspension extends ‘‘to horse racing authorities worldwide for all races under their ruling’’.
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