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Frankie Dettori celebrates on Trawlerman after winning the Long Distance Cup at Ascot. Photograph:

Rob Harris (

London: Frankie Dettori’s dream of winning a Melbourne Cup, one of the few major races not on his glittering CV, is over after he was suspended for a combined 16 days for breaching whip rules during his farewell to British racing.
The champion jockey’s plans to ride in Australia’s most famous race one last time were denied after he was found to have used his whip once above the permitted level of six in winning the Long Distance Cup aboard the John and Thady Gosden-trained Trawlerman.
The 52-year-old, who is moving full-time to the US at the end of the year after abandoning plans to retire, enjoyed a perfect send-off at Ascot on Saturday when he rode two winners, which included capturing the Champion Stakes on King Of Steel, his last ride.
British racing’s new whip rules came into force over jumps in February and on flat racing the following month.
In a statement released on Tuesday Dettori said: “Regretfully at British Champions Day I went one stroke over in the opening and subsequent race.”
‘I’ve got to face reality’: Dettori to hang up saddle, meaning Melbourne Cup dream likely over
“Following the whip review committee meeting early this week, my 16-day suspension will take effect from Tuesday, November 7, meaning I am unable to ride at the Melbourne Cup carnival,” he said.
He said with flights booked, he still planned to attend Australia’s premier meeting to support the event.
The Italian, who has partnered more than 250 Group 1 winners around the world and more than 3300 winners, first rode in the Cup in 1993 aboard Drum Taps and has since ridden in the race 17 times, finishing second past the post on three occasions.
Dettori said in August it would be his last Melbourne Cup, describing it as “one of the best races in the world” and finally winning it would make him “the happiest man in the world”.
He finished second aboard 50-1 shot Central Park when beaten just a head by Rogan Josh in 1999 and filled the same spot aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite, who finished half a length behind Prince Of Penzance in 2015.
The Joseph O’Brien-trained Master Of Reality passed the post a head second behind Vow And Declare under Dettori in the 2019 running – the last time he rode in the race – but was demoted to fourth after a protest.
Dettori won the Ebor on Absurde for Mullins at York in August, had been mooted as his possible Melbourne Cup ride but Zac Purton was recently booked after he was allotted a low weight of 53 kg.
A British Horseracing Authority spokesman said the new penalties which were in place in the most prestigious and valuable races were intended to act as a deterrent against overuse of the whip.
“The overall objectives of the rules governing the whip, which came about following a lengthy consultation process and have been refined through regular dialogue with jockeys, are to ensure its more judicious use for encouragement, improving the perception of its use and ensuring that outcomes of races are fair,” he said.
“Over the course of the year, we have seen jockeys adapt superbly to the new rules and the overall offence rate has markedly decreased.”
Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Mark Zahra was slapped with a $50,000 fine and a seven-meeting suspension for breaking whip rules on Without A Fight.
He used the whip on nine occasions prior to the 100-metre mark, four more times than permitted, and 13 hits in totality.
He has deferred his suspension to start at midnight after the Cox Plate, in which he is set to partner Gold Trip.