Frankie Dettori has said his ban for using cocaine led him to hide inside his house for a week because of the paparazzi and made him fearful of his children being bullied.
The Italian jockey (right) will return to race-riding at Leicester on Monday after serving a six-month ban for failing a drug test last September.
In an interview to be screened during Channel 4 News at 7.0 tonight, Dettori said he was ashamed and embarrassed after testing positive at Longchamp on Arc trials day last year.
At the time, his 20-year association with Godolphin was coming to an end and his position as first jockey appeared to be undermined by Mahmood Al Zarooni's preference for Dettori's understudies, Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre de Sousa. Ironically, the trainer himself is now serving an eight-year ban for giving his horses steroids.
In the interview, Dettori (42) takes full responsibility for a "moment of madness. I'm very ashamed and embarrassed, and paid a very big price for it," he said. "I spent six months not doing the thing that I love, racing.
"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."
He added: "The embarrassment of when it came out, I had to hide in my house for a week. The paparazzi outside. The embarrassment of telling the children."
The jockey has not been idle in his attempt to get the new freelance phase of his riding career off to a good start next week. Since returning from a holiday, he has been putting himself about – riding out in France and Ballydoyle, as well as locally in Newmarket.
The jockey's first aim, apart from riding a winner, will be to get back in the big-race groove and get rides in the Oaks and Derby.
Taking the ride on Aidan O'Brien's Camelot in last year's Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe was widely regarded as the final straw in his relationship with Godolphin, but, with the possibility of multiple involvement, the Irish trainer looks his best bet for a Derby ride.
As for the Oaks, Michael Stoute looks to have a live candidate in Liber Nauticus, which landed yesterday's Musidora Stakes at York in the hands of Ryan Moore.
Bookmakers reacted by clipping her price for the Epsom classic. Ladbrokes cut her one point, to 4/1, while Paddy Power left her unchanged at 5/1. Moth and Secret Gesture are joint-favourites at 7/2. (© Daily Telegraph, London)