Dettori shame at drugs suspension

Jockey Frankie Dettori has been suspended for six months after a positive drugs test in France. The test was taken in Paris on September 16 and the results showed traces of a drug believed to be cocaine.

The jockey is held in great affection by British racegoers, but fears that the test and the ban may leave a permanent stain on his reputation. "People will always remember it," he told the Daily Star. "Now when they look at me they won't think of the things I have done for racing in the past 20 years. They'll just think: 'He's the guy who got caught with drugs.'"

It has been a difficult year for Dettori, who lost his regular retainer with Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin stable. "It was one night of madness with friends," he said, recalling the incident. "I dropped my guard at a moment when I was at my weakest. I was in a dark place. I was very low, my job was going down the drain. I will regret it for the rest of my life."

Dettori remains one of the most respected jockeys in Flat racing, and is determined to rebuild his career once the suspension ends. It coincides with the winter break in the UK, allowing him to return to race riding on May 20, in time for the Epsom Derby which takes place 12 days later. "I have still got a good five years left in me," Dettori said. "I feel like I have a point to prove now. I need to come back to show I'm still as good as I was. I want to redeem my name."

In the meantime, Dettori has taken his family to Australia to escape the spotlight. "It was my own fault," he said. "I'm no different to anyone else who has made a mistake. I slipped up one night and I got caught. I have only myself to blame."

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