Frankie Dettori's boost for Epsom Derby comeback

Frankie Dettori

Frankie Dettori's hopes of returning from a six-month drugs ban in time for this weekend's Epsom Derby meeting have been boosted as British racing chiefs confirmed he could be called up as a late substitute for another jockey.

France Galop, the French racing governing body, has refused to clear Dettori to ride again after an irregularity with a new test.

However the 42-year-old has volunteered to be tested more times, and if these tests come back clean, he will be free to compete.

A British Horseracing Authority spokesman said: "We have contacted France Galop again today, who have informed us that their medical committee's decision regarding Frankie Dettori's fitness to ride will be taken before the weekend.

"Upon receiving confirmation that he is fit to ride, the BHA would grant Dettori with his licence to ride in Britain.

"In normal circumstances we would be prepared to approve a substitution of a rider if a jockey who was unavailable at the time of declarations subsequently becomes available prior to the race."

However, Dettori looks set to miss out on riding in the Derby itself after he was not included in the plans of trainer Aidan O'Brien, for whom he has been riding out recently.

O'Brien's bosses, the Cooolmore Stud in Tipperary, revealed on Wednesday evening that Derby second favourite Magician is unlikely to run, reducing their team from six to five.

The trainer's son Joseph has been booked for Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner Battle of Marengo.

Ryan Moore will be on Chester Vase victor Ruler Of The World, with Richard Hughes earmarked for Mars, who was sixth in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket to Dawn Approach.

Seamie Heffernan is set to partner Festive Cheer with Colm O'Donoghue on Flying The Flag.

Dawn Approach, co-owned by Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation (Dettori's former employers) and Irish trainer Jim Bolger, is the even-money favourite for the famous Classic.

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