rally round jockey who will return in May
Italian will be back in
time for Epsom Derby
Dettori said on Wednesday that he is determined to "rebuild his reputation"
when he returns from a six-month worldwide riding ban imposed by the French
racing authorities after he tested positive for a metabolite of a banned
substance, believed to be cocaine, when riding in Paris on 16 September.
Dettori, who will not contest the finding, will be eligible to return
to the saddle on 20 May 2013, in time to ride in the Derby at Epsom 12 days
later if he can find a ride. It is not just Dettori's reputation that will need
to be rebuilt, however, but his career as well, as he recently lost his
lucrative annual retainer to ride for the powerful Godolphin stable, and will
be a freelance jockey in 2013 for the first time in two decades.
Dettori did not attend the hearing into the
case in Paris on Tuesday, but Christopher Stewart-Moore, his solicitor, said
after the confirmation of Dettori's penalty that the jockey "fully accepts" the
decision by France Galop, racing's administrator in France.
"He also accepts that he has let down the sport he
loves and all those associated with it, as well as the wider public,"
Stewart-Moore said, "but most of all, and this is his greatest regret, he has
let down his wife and children. 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."
50% of Dettori's 398 rides on the Flat in Britain in 2012 were for the
Godolphin operation, with the jockey receiving a fee for each ride along with a
percentage of any prize money won in addition to his annual retainer. Dettori's
working life as a freelance in 2013 will be more uncertain, but a number of
leading trainers said after the confirmation of his suspension that they will
employ him next season.
"What's happened has happened and it's not my
place to comment, but he's been so good for me in the past that I can't wait
for him to get back," Brian Meehan, who trains at Manton in Wiltshire, one of
racing's most historic yards, said. "With his ability and reputation he's just
a great man to have on your side.
"In a funny sort of way, nobody wants
an enforced absence but it might do him the world of good. He's going to come
back and he's going to be fresh, it's a whole new start for him."