Reaction to Dettori ban

  • Last Updated: December 5 2012, 17:59 GMT

Luca Cumani, the trainer who kick-started Frankie Dettori's illustrious riding career, hopes his fellow Italian can quickly bounce back when he completes a six-month suspension that has rocked racing.

Cumani: Backing his man

Dettori, three-times British champion jockey, tested positive for what is believed to be cocaine following a routine examination at Longchamp on September 16.

Dettori's suspension, from French racing authority France Galop, runs from November 20 to May 19 and is likely to be reciprocated by racing jurisdictions worldwide, including by the British Horseracing Authority.

Cumani gave Dettori, 42 on December 15, his first job in British racing as an apprentice in 1985 before he went on to become the Newmarket trainer's stable jockey.

They enjoyed great success together before Dettori moved on to become retained jockey to Sheikh Mohammed's operation Godolphin.

He held that position until October and has planned to ride as a freelance next year.

Cumani told Press Association Sport: "I'm sad that this has happened and hope it doesn't happen again.

"He is the best jockey that has been around for quite a while and a great ambassador for the sport.

"He has done a world of good to the sport and let's hope he can put this behind him quickly and go back to where he was."

Dettori's long wait to win the Epsom Derby was finally ended at the 15th attempt when he partnered Authorized to victory for Peter Chapple-Hyam in 2007.

The Newmarket trainer is convinced Dettori will return as good as ever once his ban is over.

"It's very sad for racing and obviously for Frankie. We all make mistakes, he has to live by it. It's harder on him than anyone else," said Chapple-Hyam.

"He's a fantastic jockey and will continue to be when he comes back and I'm sure he'll be as good as ever."

Another trainer with whom Dettori has a long association, stretching back to riding his top-class horses Mister Baileys and Double Trigger in the early 90s, is Mark Johnston.

"It's obviously all very sad and I feel very sorry for Frankie, who has taken it on the chin," he said.

"I'm sure he is enduring a considerable amount of shame and personal embarrassment, but at the same time I'm sure he will bounce back."

Asked if he would consider using Dettori again after his return from suspension, Johnston said: "Absolutely."

Manton trainer Brian Meehan cannot wait to use Dettori's services again.

"What's happened has happened and it's not my place to comment, but he's been so good for me in the past that I can't wait for him to get back," Meehan told the Guardian.

"With his ability and reputation he's just a great man to have on your side, and if he's off for a little bit, he's off for a little bit. I'll be on the phone to him straight away."

Newmarket trainer Jeremy Noseda described Dettori as "the best jockey riding in Europe".

"It's sad for him, he's made a mistake and will pay his dues, but there's no question in my mind that he's the best jockey riding in Europe still and I'll be delighted to use him on his return," he said.

Racing pundit John McCririck believes Dettori deserves "understanding and sympathy".

McCririck said: "Dettori, the mercurial public face of British racing and the world's top international rider, is no cheat.

"For all his public charisma and exuberance, he is subject to exceptional pressures.

"For 25 years he has earned our respect and now deserves our understanding and sympathy before being welcomed back next year on May 20."

The Professional Jockeys Association intend to look at the mental well-being of their members and give riders any support they might require.

Paul Struthers, PJA chief executive, said: "As in any walk of life jockeys will make mistakes.

"Frankie Dettori has made such a mistake and accepted the consequences of it, and if he needs any support the PJA and Injured Jockeys Fund between them can provide that.

"The wider issue of jockeys' mental well-being is something the PJA cares passionately about.

"We will be meeting early next year to discuss the issue of jockeys' mental well-being with a view to doing more to raise awareness of the issues and the support that is available."

Rod Street, Racing for Change chief executive, said: "Frankie, for many years, has played a significant role in promoting racing to the wider public.

"He will certainly be missed but racing is a big sport so we're sure his absence will bring other racing personalities to the fore.

"In terms of the wider impact from Frankie's suspension, negative publicity for the sport is always regrettable but racing is robust enough to cope with it.

"And, when Frankie returns, we're certain he'll come back stronger and wiser."


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