Dettori suspended for positive test

Frankie Dettori, one of the world’s best-known jockeys, was suspended indefinitely from racing in France on Wednesday following a positive drug test.

He tested positive for an unidentified banned substance Sept. 16 after riding at Longchamp. The British-based jockey will not ride anywhere else or make any comment until the matter is settled.

The French association’s medical committee held a hearing Tuesday and said it was temporarily suspending the Italian on ”medical grounds.” The panel transferred the case to France Galop, the sport’s governing body in France. It must now decide whether to open its own investigation and extend the suspension.

”Stewards will be studying the file within the next fortnight before deciding what action will be taken in accordance with the rules of racing,” France Galop said.

The 41-year-old Dettori, a three-time champion jockey in Britain, is best known for riding seven winners on one day at Ascot in 1996.

The suspension lasts at least until Dettori’s next hearing before France Galop, which could take place within the next two weeks, spokesman Julien Pescatore said. No date has been set.

Dettori’s lawyer, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said the jockey ”will not be riding anywhere” until the stewards have made their final decision.

”He is grateful to the medical committee for their time and in particular for listening to his explanation of his position,” Stewart-Moore said in a statement.

Dettori has not raced since the Melbourne Cup in Australia on Nov. 6, where he finished 14th on Cavalryman.

”Once the stewards of France Galop make their decision he will make a full statement, but is unable to do so until such time as that final decision is announced,” Stewart-Moore said.

There are races at Deauville from Dec. 4-5 but they do not include Group 1 and Group 2 races, so Dettori in effecty misses little in the next two weeks. He competed at the prestigious Arc de Triomphe race last month, finishing seventh on Camelot.

Irish jockey Kieren Fallon was banned for six months by France Galop in 2006 after testing positive for a banned substance. France Galop then banned him a further 18 months after a second positive test in August 2007.

The identity of the banned substance in Dettori’s case is covered by medical confidentiality under French law. Dettori was cautioned by police in Britain for possession of cocaine in 1993.

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