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Doctors decide on Dettori's racing future

PARIS (AFP) –

Dettori was one of five jockeys tested at Longchamp on September 16

File picture of Italian jockey Frankie Dettori pictured after winning the Hong Kong Vase race at Hong Kong International Races in December 2010. Riding great Frankie Dettori was due to learn whether he would face a likely ban for a doping offence after an independent medical commission reached a decision in Paris Tuesday.

Riding great Frankie Dettori was due to learn whether he would face a likely ban for a doping offence after an independent medical commission reached a decision in Paris on Tuesday.

The 41-year-old England-based jockey was not present for the hearing before the three man commission which was held at the headquarters of French racing’s governing body, France Galop.

“The Medical Commission examining Frankie Dettori’s case has held a hearing in the presence of his solicitor Christopher Stewart-Moore and will inform Dettori and his lawyer of their decision,” said France Galop’s director of regulations and racing Henri Pouret.

However, Pouret added that he may not face any disciplinary punishment if the medical commission decide not to forward the dossier.

“If it stays at the medical level they can make recommendations to the jockey before he can ride again,” said Pouret.

“They have the power to take away his licence for medical reasons if he does not adhere to the recommendations.

“For some substances it is not just a medical issue but a disciplinary one.

“The scale of the penalty depends on the seriousness of the drug.

“However, the substance will not at any point be revealed as that is the policy of the France Galop stewards. Like a doctor and patient confidentiality.”

Should Dettori be summoned, the hearing would take place 15 days after he receives notification.

Dettori, who was one of five jockeys tested at Longchamp on September 16, two for alcohol and three underwent urine tests, is not obliged to appear at that hearing.

The Italian, whose lawyer has said that the substance was not performance enhancing, had the option of having his ‘B’ sample tested at one of three approved laboratories..

Dettori, who is probably racing’s most recognisable face, had already been tested six times in England this year, but France Galop insisted that, contrary to some reports, he had not been targeted after they had received a tip-off.

“France Galop conduct 700 to 900 tests a year,” said France Galop press director Julien Pescatore.

“Usually it’s five tests on a raceday but on big racedays it can be up to 15.

“They are random tests but we usually hope to test every jockey who rides on a regular basis in France, including foreign jockeys.”

Dettori, who lost a valuable riding contract in Hong Kong when he was found with a small amount of cocaine in London’s Oxford Street in 1993 but picked up the prestigious Godolphin contract later that year, is the third high-profile, non-French jockey to fail a dope test.

Fellow flat riding great Kieren Fallon received 18 months for a second offence while jumps jockey Dean Gallagher also fell foul of the French authorities – both riders having tested positive for cocaine.

Dettori, who in 1996 rode all seven winners on a raceday at Ascot, has had a mixed year which saw his long association with Dubai-based Godolphin come to an unhappy end.

The options open to the French authorities range from dropping the case against Dettori to imposing a six month worldwide ban.

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