Frankie Dettori: Aidan O'Brien plans to use returning jockey

Top Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien says he aims to use Frankie Dettori when the jockey returns from a drugs ban.

Dettori, 42, hopes to come back after a six-month drugs ban for the Epsom Derby meeting, which starts on 31 May.

A "private matter" between Dettori and French governing body France Galop has delayed him regaining his licence.

Asked if he would like to use Dettori, O'Brien said: "Absolutely, Frankie has always been a great rider, he still is and always will be."

Dettori dates

  • 20 November 2012: First day of suspension
  • 23 March 2013: British Flat season starts
  • 19 May: Last day of suspension
  • 20 May: Due to return at Leicester but test 'glitch' delays comeback
  • 31 May: Oaks, Epsom
  • 1 June: Epsom Derby

The three-time champion jockey will return as a freelance after his 18-year association with the Godolphin racing team ended in October 2012.

Coolmore Racing, which employs O'Brien at the Ballydoyle training base in Tipperary, are fierce rivals of Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai-based operation.

Dettori, who was sidelined by Godolphin last year, has not spoken to the sheikh since he rode Camelot for O'Brien in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October.

Three weeks earlier, he had been drug tested at Longchamp which later returned as a positive for cocaine.

Dettori has blamed "a moment of madness" for the failed test, saying he was depressed after falling down the Godolphin pecking order following the recruitment of trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni.

While the jockey was on the sidelines, Al Zarooni was last month banned for eight years after admitting doping 15 horses with anabolic steroids. A further seven trained by him have since tested positive.

Dettori, who spent a week riding out with O'Brien's team in Ireland earlier in the month, is now hoping to be declared fit to ride by France Galop, and could be used by the trainer in the Derby.

"We are hopeful the glitch has been ironed out so he can get his English licence in time to ride in the Derby," said his solicitor Christopher Stewart-Moore.

The British Horseracing Authority will not let Dettori compete in Britain until his issues with France Galop have been sorted.

BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey confirmed they are still awaiting the relevant clearance from the French governing body.

The Derby takes place on Saturday, 1 June and Dettori hopes to be able to compete in the prestigious race, which he won on Authorized in 2007.