Fallon's troubles grow as title odds drift

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The Independent Online
Kieren Fallon has been removed from the ride on Lady Carla at Newmarket today amid speculation that he is to be sacked from all the the horses of Wafic Said, who owns both fillies, after his controversial defeat on Bosra Sham in Saturday's Eclipse Stakes.

The bookmakers, rarely slow to seize an opportunity, have extended Fallon's odds against winning the jockeys' championship for the first time, with the Tote reasoning that Saturday's failure will have such a detrimental effect on his prospects that they have lengthened his price to 7-2 from 7-4. That is despite the 32-year-old jockey leading Pat Eddery by 75 winners to 72, with Frankie Dettori on 71 for the year at the start of play yesterday before further success at Bath. Dettori is quoted at 4-5 with Eddery 7- 4.

The Tote's spokesman, Rob Hartnett, said: "The events of the last few days will have done nothing for Kieren's confidence, for those who employ him and for others within racing. Even though he's come back and ridden the first winner at Bath today we feel his chances of winning the title have definitely taken a knock."

There was no official confirmation that Fallon would no longer ride for Said, a Syrian businessman, but his absence from the saddle of Lady Carla, last year's Oaks winner, in today's Princess of Wales's Stakes, tells its own story.

Fallon had been pencilled in to ride the filly at the five-day declaration stage. Instead he has been switched to the filly's stablemate at Henry Cecil's yard, Dushyantor.

Said's racing manager Tim Bulwer-Long did not dismiss speculation that the owner would no longer employ the jockey. "There is no state of play at the moment, but Willie Ryan will ride Lady Carla," he said. "The owner is abroad and we might have something else to say at Newmarket tomorrow."

Fallon has been stung by a welter of criticism over his riding of Bosra Sham, the 4-7 favourite for the Eclipse. The Irishman, in his first season as stable jockey to Cecil, found his path blocked at a crucial stage in the Sandown straight before finishing third to Pilsudski.

Fallon was reluctant to talk about the weekend events after guiding Royal Circus to victory at Bath. "Do you believe everything you read in the papers?" he said when quizzed over the possibility of riding Bosra Sham in future. "I told everybody what I thought about the whole affair on Saturday and as far as I am concerned that's the case closed."

Cecil, who added his voice to the throng of Fallon's critics, insisted yesterday that he had asked the rider to switch to Dushyantor in today's race. "It was my choice that Kieren would ride Dushyantor," he said. "I have nothing to add and you had better talk to Mr Said's racing manager."

If Fallon is replaced by Said, Eddery is the favourite to fill his seat. He was on board when Bosra Sham won last year's 1,000 Guineas and partnered Lady Carla to victory in the Oaks a few weeks later.

Howver, Eddery's agent, Terry Ellis, insisted yesterday that no approach had been made. "I don't want to stir any more fuel to the fire. We have had no contact made with us, and I think the kid [Fallon] has had enough aggro already."

The connections of Pilsudski, trained by Michael Stoute, offered some sympathy to the beleaguered Fallon at Bath. Jimmy Scott, Stoute's respected travelling head lad, said: "Kieren's getting a lot of flak and I don't think he's the guilty party. Pilsudki would have won anyway."

Pilsudski's rider, Mick Kinane, is again likely to be the one to prevent either of the Cecil pair winning the Princess of Wales's Stakes as he partners Swain, who makes his debut for the Godolphin team. Shantou, fresh from winning Italy's most valuable race, the Gran Premio di Milano, and the Ascot Gold Cup winner, Celeric, also provide stiff opposition in what is likely to be the highlight of the opening card of the three-day July meeting.

The Godolphin camp are represented by the Royal Ascot winner Asfurah in the day's other Group race, the Cherry Hinton Stakes, in which Aidan O'Brien attempts to maintain his spectacular winning run with Danyross.

Yesterday's results, page 29

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