Fallon in line to be champion again
I've just watched Kieren Fallon ride another winner which, at the time of writing, closes the gap on Paul Hanagan to eight in the race for the British Flat Jockeys Championship which concludes on November 5. Quite why the UK flat season didn't come to a close on British Champions' Day is anybody's guess, but is it really worth dragging out the season just for the sake of the November Handicap?
Anyway, back to the jockey's title, and Fallon, who has previously finished top of the tree six times (but not since 2003), said that regaining his crown was his main priority when he returned after an enforced absence in 2009. The Irishman, who is no stranger to controversy, has been riding a steady flow of winners, has the pick of many top stables to ride for, and will certainly not go down without a fight — not literally, of course, although saying that…
It's no secret that Fallon is hardly the most endearing character, but you have to give credit where it's due and after resurrecting his career the way he has, I genuinely hope he can gain the recognition he deserves at Doncaster next month.
Many people, including me, thought his riding days were over, but he has well and truly dispelled those assertions and if managing to win, it will be nice to see him hit the headlines for the right reasons.
Christophe Soumillon, who is also vying for Championship status, but in France, looks to be facing an uphill battle to bag the title if the British stewards have anything to do with it after receiving a five-day ban for...yes, you've guessed it, breaching the UK whip rules after winning the Champion Stakes on Cirrus Des Aigles last Saturday. Soumillon, who is also no stranger to attracting the wrong type of publicity, was in utter disbelief at the penalties handed out to him and as well as losing out on his riding fee he will not be receiving any percentage of the winning prize money.
When interviewed post-race, the Belgium-born rider put some good points forward concerning the strict penalties, but when he started blurting out how he might struggle to feed his children and pay his mortgage, I was ready to turn the TV off!
We all know that he lost an inexcusable amount of money, and I certainly agree with his frustrations, but let's be fair, top jockeys such as Soumillon are hardly scrimping and saving and I very much doubt he'd have trouble paying the bill in Carrefour!
All is not lost however as despite missing out on one of the biggest prizes in British racing, the eccentric jockey soon made amends less than 24 hours later when experiencing a typical high and low that racing delivers after guiding Sarah Lynx to victory in the Canadian International at Woodbine.
He might not have netted the 56 grand at Ascot, but did add approximately 45K to his bank balance in Canada so shouldn't need to be taking out any credit cards just yet!