May 15, 2013 / 3:23 PM / 6 years ago

Horse racing: Dettori says he took cocaine

Frankie Dettori on Colour Vision celebrates after winning The Gold Cup on Ladies' Day, during the third day of racing at the Royal Ascot, southwest of London June 21, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - Italian jockey Frankie Dettori has revealed he took cocaine before a positive dope test in France last September that brought him a six months ban.

In an interview with Channel Four television to be broadcast on Thursday, the British-based jockey - one of the biggest names in flat racing - was asked why he took cocaine and in what circumstances.

“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 said in a preview released by the broadcaster.

Dettori, who won all seven races in a single afternoon at Ascot in 1996, said he was so ashamed and embarrassed when the news broke that he hid in his house for a week.

“The paparazzi outside. The embarrassment of telling the children, you know. You know they still go to school, they might get bullied and so it was a very, very difficult time,” he continued.

The interview was Dettori’s first since he was suspended from December 19 by the French racing authority France Galop after the positive test for a previously unidentified substance at Longchamp.

The ban expires on May 19.

“I’m very ashamed and embarrassed, and paid a big price for it, you know. I spent six months not doing the thing that I love, racing,” said Dettori.

Dettori will return as a freelance rider after it was announced in October that he would no longer be a retained jockey for Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation after an 18-year association.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer

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