Dettori to face drug charges in France

By: Mark Mazzaglia
November 14th, 2012

High profile international jockey Frankie Dettori is facing disciplinary action after testing positive to a banned substance at Longchamp, France in September.

Dettori had four mounts at the Longchamp meeting on September 16 in a lead up to the Group 1 €4m QATAR Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Longchamp on October 7 when he was tested and returned a positive reading.

France’s racing regulator France Galop confirmed that Dettori will be subject of an inquiry by the Medical Committee of the French authority with Dettori’s solicitor Christopher Stewart-Moore releasing a statement regarding the situation.

“On behalf of Frankie Dettori I can confirm that, as a consequence of a positive test at Longchamp on September 16 2012, he will be the subject of an inquiry by the Medical Committee of France Galop next week.”

“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.”

Dettori has been among the world’s leading riders for at least the last twenty years and number one rider for the giant Godolphin stable in England before his recent announcement that he would be riding freelance in the future.

The world class jockey recently lost the top spot at the Godolphin stable when Sheikh Mohammed promoted Mickael Barzalona to be his number one jockey and this finally lead to Dettori not renewing his contract for the new season after an eighteen year association with the powerful world class racing organisation.

Dettori had hoped that the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6 would be his last winner for Sheikh Mohammed but the Godolphin trained Cavalryman could only managed to finish in twelfth place behind Hong Kong based Australian jockey Brett Prebble and Green Moon.

This is not the first time Dettori has been involved in a drug scandal after being let off with a caution when stopped by police in London in 1993 who found a small quantity of cocaine in his car.

Dettori used the incident to turn his career around and saw him reach the great heights which resulted in him being labelled as the best jockey in the world at the pinnacle of his career.

“It was the kick up the backside I needed,” Dettori said.

“I was going off the rails. It was too much too young – too much success, too much money, too much partying. I’d be late in the mornings. I didn’t do what I was told. I was naughty.

“But when you lose everything, your survival instincts take over. I stopped being lazy. I made an effort and started to work with my talent.”

Dettori had achieved it all and completed all five English classics when he won on Authorized in the 2007 Epsom Derby, adding to his wins in the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, 1,000 Guineas Stakes, Epsom Oaks and the St. Leger Stakes.

And also a major highlight of the top Italian jockey was riding the winners of all seven races on Champion’s Day at Ascot in 1996 as well as winning the Group 1 Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Longchamp on three occasions, on Lammtarra (1995), Sakhee (2001) and Marienbard (2002).

Dettori is not the only British based jockey to return a positive drug test in France with top English rider Kieren Fallon banned for six months after testing positive to a metabolite of a prohibited substance.

Fallon also copped an eighteen month ban the following season after failing a test for cocaine at the Deauville racecourse.

The long list of Dettori’s major race wins is extensive with Group 1 wins in all the worlds’ major racing countries, including Great Britain, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Dubai, Japan and his home land Italy.

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