Frankie Dettori – the latest sportsman facing drugs scandal

– Lucie Henson contributed to this report

No one can deny the shock they felt upon hearing news of Lance Armstrong’s drug scandal. Weeks after the realisation settled, sports fans are yet again shocked by news of a similar nature in a different sport.

Italian horse rider Frankie Dettori, arguably the world’s greatest jockey but most certainly the most recognised man on a horse, is the new face of yet another drugs scandal in sport.


Frankie Detorri recently announced Detorri recently announced he would be taking on a freelance career. Photo: William Thomas

Dettori, named by many as “the perfect jockey”, was found guilty of using a banned substance, after an inquiry was made by the France-Galop, following a failed drugs test while the jockey was riding in France at the Longchamp racetrack.

He has now been issued a temporary suspension from racing in France on “medical grounds” and will have to wait up to a fortnight before the hearing and a decision is made by the France Galop stewards. Although the suspension is only viable in France, the British Horseracing Authority has been assured Dettori has no intention of riding anywhere until the hearing is completed.

The gravity of the drugs scandal is yet to be unveiled as both the Independent commission and the France Galop are refusing to identify the chemical that was found in the report.

There are 142 banned substances on the list of the France Galop and fans of Dettori are questioning the reasoning behind the refusal and why the full facts are not being produced, especially after some newspapers are stating he is believed to have tested positive to cocaine, or a derivative of the narcotic.

Dettori has openly admitted, in an interview with BBC’s “Newsnight” to taking diuretic drugs in the past in order to keep his weight down. He also admitted to taking a range of drugs before they were added to the list of banned substances by the Jockey Club.

The number one jockey could be faced with a six-month suspension, the expected penalty for a first offence, which would most definitely write off the first half of the season. Detorri recently announced he’d be taking on a freelance career, after news of the 18-year association with the famous Godolphin came to an end.

The lengthy two week wait for the verdict has fans eagerly waiting, not only for news on the punishment Dettori will face, but whether or not the jockey will continue his career after the punishment has been completed. In the later stages of his career, at aged 42, could we see an early retirement?

Dettori came into the year unquestionably as number one, though the next few weeks will determine how he leaves 2012.

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