Dettori faces inquiry after positive test
RACING:Frankie Dettori’s career was in fresh crisis last night as it emerged he had tested positive for a banned substance while riding in France this autumn. It is less than a month since the jockey split from Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation, his principal employers for the past 18 years.
His supporters argued he would bounce back and be among the contenders for champion jockey next year but he is at risk of a worldwide ban from riding that could run into months, depending on the identity of the substance.
That issue remained in doubt, with officials at France Galop, the body which runs French racing, refusing to disclose details. Rumours about a positive test have been circulating for weeks but the news was finally broken by a statement from Dettori’s solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore.
“On behalf of Frankie Dettori I can confirm that, as a consequence of a positive test at Longchamp on 16 September 2012, he will be the subject of an inquiry by the medical committee of France Galop next week,” Stewart-Moore said.
“In compliance with, and out of respect for, the regulations of France Galop, he will not be commenting further until the France Galop procedures have been completed.”
The positive test was taken while Dettori, 41, was riding on Arc trials day at Longchamp, when he partnered four horses without success. It was the day after he suffered a setback in the St Leger at Doncaster, won by the Godolphin horse Encke, ridden by Mickael Barzalona.
The glory would have been Dettori’s in previous years but rides have been shared between him and other jockeys this year and his consequent disaffection is seen as the main reason for his leaving Godolphin.
Dettori follows Kieren Fallon as the second high-profile, British-based jockey in recent years to return a positive test in France, having never done so in Britain. Fallon fell foul of the rules twice, serving a six-month ban from late 2006 and then an 18-month ban from January 2008 after testing positive for cocaine. Dettori received a police caution for cocaine possession in 1993, when he was 22, but later said that drug abuse was in his past.
Under strict French rules, a jockey would be in breach if positive for over-the-counter medication.