Doubts over career led to Frankie Dettori's drug-taking
Frankie Dettori has had 15 random drug tests during the last two months as he prepares to make his return to the saddle at Leicester on Monday. The jockey, banned for six months after traces of cocaine showed in a sample taken at Longchamp last September, told Channel 4 News of his sense of shame and humiliation. "I feel like Lance Armstrong," he said. "They come and knock on my door any time of the day."
Interviewed by Clare Balding, Dettori attributed his "moment of weakness" to the deterioration of his professional fortunes. "Up until about two years ago I was having the best time of my life," he said. "And then for some reason things have changed. We had a new trainer, new way of doing things and I didn't know whether I was in or out."
Sheikh Mohammed had hired two other jockeys, Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre De Sousa, and Dettori found himself riding an outsider in the Dubai World Cup. "My first 17 years [at] Godolphin, I was always the No 1 pick," Dettori said. "All of a sudden, I saw myself being the fourth in the biggest race in the world, and it started from there and it was never an explanation why and what, you know. I had to accept it for unknown reasons."
When Barzalona rode Encke to win the St Leger, on the eve of his fateful visit to Longchamp, Dettori hit rock bottom. "My head was wrecked, absolutely wrecked," he said. "I couldn't take it any more." That night he sought reckless consolation for his depressed spirits. "I wasn't sleeping at night," he said. "I was arguing with my wife."
Dettori further indulged his injured feelings by accepting the ride on Camelot in the Arc for his employers' longstanding rivals at Coolmore. "In hindsight, I should perhaps have confronted Godolphin," he said. "I knew then, when I did ride the horse, that was me finished. For me wanting to leave, as much for them wanting to get rid of me. I couldn't take any more and the rest is history."
Latest in Sport
Radamel Falcao: 'Changes are not easy, but there are times when you have to'
Female BBC presenter receives offensive and sexist letter after she criticised level of women's sport given TV coverage and sponsorship
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
West Brom vs Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey desperate to be back in the middle for Arsenal title challenge
Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 4 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...