Frankie Dettori cleared to return to racing after drug ban

Frankie Dettori has been cleared to resume racing by the French governing body following his six-month ban for a positive cocaine test.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) also reissued Dettori's UK licence after France Galop's decision.

The 42-year-old is set to make his comeback in three races at Epsom on Friday, with his first Classic ride coming in Sunday's French Derby.

Dettori was suspended in December for failing a drug test at Longchamp.

He had hoped to return at Leicester last week but the BHA, which handed him a reciprocal ban following France Galop's suspension decision, said the French governing body was "not prepared to sanction him as fit to ride until a meeting with their medical committee".

Dettori's exile and return

Frankie Dettori
  • Dettori was banned for six months in December 2012
  • He appeared on Channel 5 TV show Celebrity Big Brother in January
  • He has travelled to Australia, the United States, France and the Republic of Ireland during his ban
  • Among meetings he missed were the Dubai World Cup, the Guineas weekend and the key Classic trials
  • His return comes in time for Royal Ascot in June

He met with France Galop's medical committee on Tuesday and his French agent, Herve Naggar, confirmed that all recent tests had returned negative results, meaning the Italian can now resume his career.

"He is back in business," said Naggar. "Everything has been received by the France Galop medical committee and they can now give him back his licence."

Dettori's agent in England, Ray Cochrane, said: "The plan is for him to ride Ed Dunlop's horse in the first race at Epsom on Friday (Beatrice Aurore), and while I'm waiting to hear back from [trainer] Marco Botti, he has said Frankie could ride his horse, Fattsota, in the 10-furlong handicap."

Cochrane said he did not expect Dettori to have a ride in Saturday's Derby, despite a BHA spokesman saying earlier that he could still be called up as a late substitute for another jockey.

Dettori will instead head to France, where he has been booked to ride Andrew Oliver's First Cornerstone in the French Derby - the Prix du Jockey Club - on Sunday.

The Italian, who has won the Chantilly Classic on three previous occasions, takes over in the saddle from Chris Hayes.

Oliver said: "Frankie is going to ride the horse on Sunday. The French Derby is a race notorious for traffic problems, we thought we'd like a jockey with local knowledge and race knowledge and who better could you get than Frankie Dettori?

"He's a world-class jockey who has ridden all over the world. The owner came up with the idea (of booking Dettori) and hopefully it will all work out."

Dettori has won 110 races at the top Group or Grade One level, including 14 British Classics.

He won the jockeys' championship - decided by total number of wins in a season - in 1994, 1995 and 2004 and famously won all seven races in one afternoon at Ascot in 1996.

Dettori rode for Godolphin for 18 years until a split in the autumn of 2012 and is returning to the sport as a freelance rider.