Frankie Dettori returns - but finishes last in first race for six months

The Italian was banned after testing positive for cocaine

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The Independent Online

Frankie Dettori finished last of nine runners aboard Beatrice Aurore on his return to action at Epsom.

The ride on Ed Dunlop's five-year-old in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes was the Italian's first since he regained his licence on Thursday, having served a six-month ban after testing positive for cocaine in France.

Beatrice Aurore was settled in fourth early on in the extended mile heat but when the pace upped a notch in the straight, Dettori sent out the distress signals.

Dunlop's mare, owned by former ABBA musician Benny Andersson, faded badly in the closing stages but Dettori was just pleased to be back.

He had earlier told Channel 4 Racing he was "like a kid on Christmas morning" at the prospect of returning to the saddle.

He said: "It's nice to be back. It's a big day for me, six months off to start again.

"I was like a kid on Christmas morning, jumping up and down."

Dettori only just made it to the track in time for his first mount as traffic problems saw him jogging down the track before weighing out with less than 15 minutes to spare.

He said: "I left the car by the road and jumped over the running rail."

Dettori admitted he was relieved to have his first race completed.

He said: "Its nice to be back, and good to get the first one out of the way.

Asked about the ground, he said: "Good to soft, but you're asking the wrong person, I haven't been riding too much!"

He continued: "I was very nervous coming down and then I got stuck in traffic so it was panic stations and I ran the last three furlongs down the track to get here on time.

"I got a good welcome back. As soon as I got on the horse it was back to business and like I had never been away.

"It was nice to get a welcome back from everyone. It's all been a bit of a thunderstorm.

"I feel as fit as I could be but I haven't ridden for a long time."

The Italian fared slightly better in the Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap as he finished fifth on the Marco Botti-trained Fattsota.

Saddled with top weight, Dettori adopted a watching brief from the back of the nine-runner field before trying to switch wider for a run in the straight.

Fattsota could not pick up when asked and Dettori eventually had to settle for a minor placing behind the winner, Resurge.