With all the furore around Mahmood Al Zarooni and his misuse of drugs on some of the horses in his stable, an important step in the rehabilitation of the highest profile jockey to fall foul of drug abuse could easily be overlooked.
We’re referring here to Frankie Dettori, who tested positive at Longchamp last September and was issued with a six-month worldwide ban by the French authorities on 20 November. That suspension runs out on 20 May, but a condition of regaining his licence is that the jockey must undergo further medical examination and drug testing by a doctor appointed by France Galop in the final month of his suspension.
Dettori has spent most of this week in France for those tests, and although the results are likely to take at least three weeks to come through, he clearly doesn’t expect any problems. Nor should there be, unless Dettori has continued to behave in a very foolish way.
Several trainers have helped him in his bid to regain fitness. This week he rode out for Carlos Laffon-Parais and Nicolas Clement, and at home he’s also visited the yards of Ed Dunlop and Jeremy Noseda. Dettori has a good relationship with Marco Botti, and a couple of weeks ago spent the week there. Botti said, “He wants to get fit and he’s in good form.”
The trainer said that Dettori would ride many times for him this season, but that the two would not have any permanent arrangement. That’s good news for his other jockeys, especially Adam Kirby and Martin Harley. One of them will ride Moojaahim in the 2000 Guineas, and a good showing there will make it hard for Botti to jock anyone off in favour of Dettori.