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Frankie Dettori vows to rebuild career following six-month drugs ban 26/11/2012
Greg Wood
• Trainers rally round jockey who will return in May
• Italian will be back in time for Epsom Derby

Frankie Dettori said on Wednesday that he is determined to "rebuild his reputation" when he returns from a six-month worldwide riding ban imposed by the French racing authorities after he tested positive for a metabolite of a banned substance, believed to be cocaine, when riding in Paris on 16 September.

Dettori, who will not contest the finding, will be eligible to return to the saddle on 20 May 2013, in time to ride in the Derby at Epsom 12 days later if he can find a ride. It is not just Dettori's reputation that will need to be rebuilt, however, but his career as well, as he recently lost his lucrative annual retainer to ride for the powerful Godolphin stable, and will be a freelance jockey in 2013 for the first time in two decades.

Dettori did not attend the hearing into the case in Paris on Tuesday, but Christopher Stewart-Moore, his solicitor, said after the confirmation of Dettori's penalty that the jockey "fully accepts" the decision by France Galop, racing's administrator in France.

"He also accepts that he has let down the sport he loves and all those associated with it, as well as the wider public," Stewart-Moore said, "but most of all, and this is his greatest regret, he has let down his wife and children. He is enormously grateful for the opportunities that he has been given by owners and trainers over the years, and for the support of his many fans. Racing has been good to Frankie and he knows that his privileged position brings with it responsibility.

"For this reason he is determined to rebuild his reputation when he returns to the saddle.

"Frankie could make excuses. He has, after all, regularly been tested for prohibited substances throughout his career. He is clear, however, that the responsibility for his current situation lies squarely with him."

About 50% of Dettori's 398 rides on the Flat in Britain in 2012 were for the Godolphin operation, with the jockey receiving a fee for each ride along with a percentage of any prize money won in addition to his annual retainer. Dettori's working life as a freelance in 2013 will be more uncertain, but a number of leading trainers said after the confirmation of his suspension that they will employ him next season.

"What's happened has happened and it's not my place to comment, but he's been so good for me in the past that I can't wait for him to get back," Brian Meehan, who trains at Manton in Wiltshire, one of racing's most historic yards, said. "With his ability and reputation he's just a great man to have on your side.

"In a funny sort of way, nobody wants an enforced absence but it might do him the world of good. He's going to come back and he's going to be fresh, it's a whole new start for him."

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