x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dettori hit with six month racing ban after failing drugs test

The former Godolphin jockey will be banned from riding until next May after testing positive for a banned substance.

Frankie Dettori celebrates after winning the Godolphin Mile at the Dubai World Cup
Frankie Dettori celebrates after winning the Godolphin Mile at the Dubai World Cup

Frankie Dettori has vowed to pick up the pieces to his shattered career after he was handed a six-month ban from riding by France Galop for testing positive for a prohibited substance.

The guillotine finally fell on Dettori yesterday as the protracted inquiry was brought to an end in Paris. With major racing jurisdictions set to reciprocate the suspension meted out by French racing’s regulatory body, the former Godolphin rider will not be able to compete internationally until May 19.

According to Dettori’s solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, the 41-year-old Italian jockey fully accepted the suspension and offered a contrite apology to his family, friends and the wider racing public.

“I have let down my wife and children and it is for their sake that I am determined to rebuild my career and my reputation in the coming years,” Dettori said in a statement.

“I have been stupid and would like to apologise to all those I have let down, including my friends and the many supporters I have been lucky enough to have in racing, both fans and professionals.

“From the start of this inquiry I have acknowledged that I take responsibility for my actions and I do not shrink from that position.”

Although the length of the suspension was expected, it is a bitter blow for the rider, who will miss the lucrative Dubai World Cup Carnival, the World Cup and the English 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, the first two Classics of the British Flat season.

He may also miss out on a ride in the Derby at Epsom in June as most of the major trials for that Classic will have been run before his return.

It has been a difficult patch for Dettori, who split from Godolphin after an 18-year association with the international stable owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Dettori amassed more than Dh10 million riding at Meydan Racecourse during the 2012 Carnival, but his return of just 51 victories in Britain was his lowest haul since being injured in a plane crash during the 2000 season.

Although the Italian rider is unlikely to struggle financially, the ban, combined with the loss of his significant Godolphin retainer, makes for a huge shortfall in his finances.

He will have to rely on his business interests, which includes Frankie’s Italian Bar and Grill in Dubai Marina, to provide for his wife and five children.

“Having been at the forefront of our wonderful sport, I have always done my best to promote and support it whenever I can. I will miss riding more than words can describe,” Dettori said.

“I am now going to have some time with my family, pursue some other interests and then concentrate on my return in six months.”

Dettori was not tested at any point during the 2012 Dubai Carnival as the Emirates Racing Authority do not operate a testing policy.

The jockey passed six tests in Britain this year, but fell foul of the French medical committee on September 16, when found positive having partnered four rides at Longchamp, including two for Godolphin. Five riders in total were tested that day, three through a breathalyser and two through urine samples.

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