Fallon still a winner and sinner

GLORIOUS GOODWOOD: The weighing room's Dr Jekyll rides the Sussex Stakes winner before gaining a well-deserved ban
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When it comes to headwear you are never sure whether Kieren Fallon should be wearing a crown or a dunce's cap. Yesterday was a microcosm of the month of July for the Irishman. He collected the feature race, the Sussex Stakes, with a display of controlled savagery from the saddle that few can match, but later earned a suspension for a piece of misjudgement which threw horses out of his path like a bowling ball carving through skittles. He remains on a tightrope between brilliance and buffoonery.

Fallon started the month with a dire effort on Bosra Sham in the Eclipse which almost had Henry Cecil liberating the jockey's P45 from the Warren Place bureau. After that the remorseless torrent of winners that has propelled him to the top of the jockeys' championship resumed, including a four- timer at Newmarket's July meeting, and, just 30 minutes before his jarring display on Memorise in the Tote Gold Trophy Handicap yesterday, Cecil was extolling his man's skills.

Dick Turpin remains the only figure in the saddle to have earned harsher treatment than Fallon, who now embarks on yet another ban, this time for five days. "I told the stewards that my horse was hanging all the way up the straight and then he dived for a gap," the rider said. "But they wouldn't believe me." His mother would have struggled to do that.

It was all rather a shame because the Sussex Stakes had exemplified all that is good in the rider. When Fallon entered the parade ring he displayed the smiling sang-froid you yearn for in a jockey at the highest level. Around him was the rabbit-eared Classic Park, the hugely attractive Among Men, and Starborough, the hot favourite with a snob's head carriage and an agitated manner which suggested he was next in line in a dentist's waiting room.

Starborough it was who pulled along the field at a murderous pace. For a moment in the straight it was the Irish outsider Classic Park who sent up a roar from the stands (a noise exclusive to the bookmakers' pitches), but from there it was Fallon's race. The Irishman girded himself into one of his irresistible drives that brooks no argument from the other athlete in the equation. Ali-Royal had no option but to win.

Next on the agenda for Ali-Royal, whose sister Sleepytime won this year's 1,000 Guineas, is the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville followed by Ascot's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

There are lofty engagements too for Central Park, who in the Champagne Stakes scored a third consecutive victory. Central Park is 20-1 for the 1998 2,000 Guineas with William Hill. Daggers Drawn, favourite for today's Richmond Stakes and Haami, who runs at Doncaster, are Hill's 12-1 co favourites along with King Of Kings.

The only worrying moment for Central Park came just after the field pointed for home, but at the moment his eyelids were drooping Pat Eddery awoke him with a meaty smack. "He was nicely off the bridle and relaxed when that other horse [Arawak Cay] kicked and I just had to niggle him along but I was always going to beat him," the rider reported. "When I asked him to stretch he just switched his lead and took off. That was an impressive show.''

The winner was led in by Paul Cole, who looks as though he has just jumped out of a hammock and put down a banana daquiri before coming to the races. The trainer likes this horse, principally because he does not limp down the garden path to Whatcombe with a sick note like many other inmates.

The admiration at the yard is not universal though as Central Park has got through several work riders in the course of earning himself a reputation as an unreliable customer. He was not the only one on view yesterday.