Frankie Dettori confesses to cocaine 'shame'


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The Independent Online

With just four days still to serve, Frankie Dettori's first television interview since the start of his six-month drugs suspension will be broadcast on Channel 4 this evening. Though he has previously acknowledged succumbing to "a moment of madness", Dettori explicitly admits that he had taken cocaine before failing a random test at Longchamp last September.

The jockey, questioned by Clare Balding, expands on the mortification he expressed in a tabloid confession during the winter. "I'm very ashamed and embarrassed, and paid a very big price for it, you know," he says. "I spent six months not doing the thing that I love. Things were going bad, I was depressed and I guess a moment of weakness and I fell for it and I've only got myself to blame. I can't blame anybody else.

"The embarrassment of when it come out… I had to hide in my house for a week. The paparazzi outside. The embarrassment of telling the children, you know. You know they still go to school, they might get bullied and so it was a very, very difficult time."

In the 7pm broadcast, the Italian also discusses the steroids scandal that has since stricken the Godolphin stable he quit after 18 years last autumn.

He takes the first mounts of his new freelance career at Leicester on Monday, and will be hoping that riding work at Ballydoyle recently could yet place him in line for one of several runners likely to represent Aidan O'Brien in the Investec Derby, a fortnight on Saturday.

Perhaps the only current jockey to rival Dettori's fame, meanwhile, ends a rather shorter absence at Ludlow today, when Tony McCoy begins his quest for a 19th consecutive jumps championship. McCoy has been sidelined since suffering chest injuries in a fall at Cheltenham last month.