Horse racing: Decision delayed over Dettori following failed drugs test

Frankie Dettori faces a two-week wait before learning whether he is to face a worldwide ban after testing positive for a banned substance.

A decision had been expected yesterday when the French racing authorities met to discuss the results of the test that was taken just 24 hours after Dettori missed out on a winning ride in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.

The 41-year-old did not appear personally before the Medical Committee of the French racing authority, France Galop, in Paris, but did make his own representation via conference call.

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The committee will make their findings known to France Galop and it is understood the stewards will meet in a fortnight to discuss any ban.

Confusion surrounded the outcome last night – there were some reports that the Medical Committee would publish their conclusions before passing them to France Galop, the French equivalent of the British Horseracing Authority.

France Galop media relations manager Julien Pescatore reiterated the authority’s policy of issuing no statement until the matter is resolved.

The jockey’s legal representative Christopher Stewart-Moore said: “The Medical Committee will announce their decision shortly, and we will then comment further on Frankie Dettori’s behalf.”

Stewart-Moore declined to name the substance involved when he released a statement last week, but said it was “not a performance-enhancing drug”.

It has been widely reported Dettori failed the test due to the presence of cocaine – an offence that could see a six-month suspension imposed.

The case follows a traumatic two months for Dettori which began when Mikael Barzalona partnered Encke to victory in the St Leger, trainer Mahmood al Zarooni preferring the riding acumen of the French jockey to Godolphin’s longstanding No 1.

Dettori was abrupt when he walked into the paddock immediately after the St Leger, rueful that he had missed a Classic win in a glittering career.

His 18-year association with Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation ended a month later after the Italian controversially partnered Camelot in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – the Derby winner is owned by the Coolmore stud who are perennial rivals to Godolphin, both on the track and in breeding terms.

Dettori intends to ride as a freelance next season, but the uncertainty about his immediate future makes it difficult for the celebrated jockey to begin forging the contacts that could deliver big race success.

His great rival Kieren Fallon was banned for six months by France Galop in 2006 after returning a positive test for a metabolite of a banned substance.

He was then banned for a further 18 months after a second positive test in August 2007.

Dettori himself was cautioned by police for possession of cocaine in 1993.