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Dettori is finally given green light; Epsom return as ban's lifted.

FRANKIE Dettori will make his eagerly-anticipated return to the saddle at Epsom today after being cleared to return from his six-month suspension.

France Galop banned Dettori, 42, after he tested positive for cocaine at Longchamp last September, with his suspension reciprocated by the British Horseracing Authority.

The Italian had last week been due to make his comeback but was thwarted in his efforts after a test carried out by France Galop produced, according to the BHA, an "irregularity".

Dettori met with France Galop's medical committee on Tuesday to discuss a "private matter", the resolution of which means the rider can now return to competitive action.

After being given clearance by France Galop on Thursday afternoon, the BHA moved swiftly to grant Dettori his riding licence.

A BHA statement read: "The British Horseracing Authority has today reissued Frankie Dettori with a full professional British jockey's licence. "This follows confirmation from France Galop that he has successfully fulfilled all of their criteria to be fit to ride.

"Dettori is now clear to return to race riding following the suspension imposed on him by France Galop at a hearing on December 5, 2012 into a failed test for a prohibited substance.

"Dettori met with the BHA Licensing Committee on May 14, who on this date stated their satisfaction that he was fit to return to race riding in Britain pending confirmation that he had fulfilled the criteria of France Galop. "It is one of the criteria of his being granted a licence that Dettori may be subject to enhanced testing controls for a period of up to 60 months."

Dettori is now set to head to the opening day of Epsom's Derby Festival for two rides, partnering Ed Dunlop's Beatrice Aurore in the opening Princess Elizabeth Stakes before riding the Marco Botti-trained Fattsota in the Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap. However, the jockey's agent, Ray Cochrane, does not expect him to be riding on Investec Derby day itself.

Cochrane said: "He's going to Epsom on Friday and he'll be riding in the first two races. There is nothing for him on Saturday." Dettori will replace Kieren Fallon on Beatrice Aurore and Dunlop is pleased to give the rider his first mount.

He said: "Frankie was booked to ride Times Up (at Sandown) today and things changed, but we're happy to have him.

"He has ridden the horse at home and on the racecourse so it's nothing against Kieren."

Andrew Oliver is another trainer who has moved quickly to secure Dettori's services, with the rider set to partner First Cornerstone for the Irish handler in France on Sunday.

The pair will line up in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly and Oliver believes Dettori is the ideal man for the job in a race also known as the French Derby.

He said: "Frankie is going to ride the horse on Sunday.

"If we'd decided to go for the Epsom Derby, Chris Hayes would have been riding, but we had a chat about things once we'd decided to go to France and Chris was perfectly fine about it all.

"The French Derby is a race notorious for traffic problems, we thought we'd like a jockey with local knowledge and race knowledge - and who better could you get than Frankie Dettori?"

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:May 31, 2013
Words:563
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