Jockey Frankie Dettori fears he may never repair the damage done to his reputation after a failed drugs test resulted in a six-month ban.
The 41-year-old will not return to action on the racecourse until a fortnight before next year’s Derby, with his suspension, handed out by French racing authority France Galop, running to until May 19.
Dettori tested positive for a banned substance — believed to be cocaine — at a meeting in Paris in September. He will be re-tested towards the end of April.
Dettori’s ban was backdated to November 20 because he had already been prevented from riding in France since that date after an independent medical commission passed the file to a disciplinary panel of stewards at France Galop.
“I’ve been in hiding since it happened because of the shame factor,” Dettori said.
“It’s not very pleasant. People will always remember it.
“Now when they look at me they won’t think of the things I have done for racing in the past 20 years, they’ll just think ‘he’s the guy who got caught with drugs’.
“But you can’t change the past and you’ve just got to move on.”
Trainer Luca Cumani, who gave Dettori his first job in British racing in 1985, threw his support behind his former stable jockey.
“He has done a world of good to the sport and let’s hope he can put this behind him and go back to where he was,” Cumani said.