A DRAMATIC year for Frankie Dettori took an unexpected and disappointing twist yesterday as it was revealed that the Italian had tested positive for a banned substance when riding at Longchamp in September.
Dettori, easily horseracing's most identifiable character, could face up to six months of a suspension as a result of the news.
Last month it was confirmed that his 18-year association with Godolphin would finish at the end of this year as both sides conceded that things "weren't working" and a significant ban would be a major blow to his resumption as a freelance jockey.
A statement from Dettori's solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said: "On behalf of Frankie Dettori, I can confirm that, as a consequence of a positive test at Longchamp on September 16 2012, he will be the subject of an inquiry by the Medical Committee of France Galop next week.
"In compliance with, and out of respect for, the regulations of France Galop, he will not be commenting further until the France Galop procedures have been completed."
Stewart-Moore also confirmed that the substance taken "was not performance enhancing".
The Longchamp meeting at which the incident took place was just 24 hours after Dettori had finished third on John Gosden's Michelangelo in the Ladbrokes St Leger.
Dettori had four rides at Longchamp on September 16.
The Italian partnered Marco Botti's Joshua Tree to finish third in the Qatar Prix Foy, while the John Hammond-trained Sarah Lynx trailed home last in the Prix Vermeille.
He was then beaten just a head into second on Godolphin's Farhh in the Prix du Moulin and was third for his former employers on Willing Foe in the Prix Gladiateur.