Four wins and respite for Fallon

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Racing

As Henry Cecil and Kieren Fallon were pushed together for a photograph here yesterday there was a small silver bird on the presentation table in front of them and its identity was most apt. It was a snipe.

On Sunday, the Irish jockey was the victim of a denouncement unparalleled in recent times from the Newmarket trainer for his riding of Bosra Sham. Yet if an ornithological example had to be nominated for relations between the pair yesterday it was the peace dove. Cecil suggested he had forgiven and if any flicker of anger remained it was almost certainly doused by Fallon's collection of the first three races for Warren Place on Light Programme, Bold Fact and Memorise. It seemed a touch incongruous when a fourth was added by a horse called Daggers Drawn.

"After the very unfortunate press I feel very strongly that I make it quite clear that I am standing by and supporting my stable jockey Kieren Fallon," Cecil said. "He was my choice as stable jockey and he will continue to ride as first jockey at Warren Place with great success. Kieren and I understand, and expect, if there are certain owners who would rather have alternative jockeys on their horses."

The pair appeared like harmony itself in the paddock before the opening contest. As they approached their representative, Light Programme, Cecil bowed close to Fallon's ear as if he was holding a conversation at a rave. For those who were looking forward to the rider being launched over the other side of the colt after Cecil had clamped his shiny boot, there was mild disappointment as Fallon landed gently in the saddle. The trainer then sent the partnership on its way with a meaty smack on the rump (of the horse).

At one stage it looked as if Light Programme did not consider finishing first as the preferred option, but he was soon disabused of that idea by the man at the joystick.

When the winners returned, Henry was outside the weighing room with his back to the wall, where he has been, metaphorically, since the weekend and the public castigation of his jockey. The trainer darted into the sanctuary of the weighing room like Reynard before the pack caught up with him. "He rode him very well, and that's why he is stable jockey," was Cecil's assessment of his man's effort.

Fallon was more circumspect and he at least considers the healing process to be not quite complete. "He's a horse who is progressing," he said. "I'm looking forward to riding him later in the season, God willing."

The jockey does however appreciate his return to the fold. "It's great to have that support," Fallon said. "Mr Cecil was disappointed with the good filly getting beaten but it was just one of those things and it's behind us now and let's just hope that days like today continue.

"Worse things have happened in my career and it never entered my head that I would be losing the job. I didn't think that for a moment."

Bold Fact dived right in the July Stakes, just as he had done at Royal Ascot, seemingly in the belief there was a sniper in the July course's tree fringe. "I was waiting for it today and I was expecting the worse," Fallon said. "As soon as he got a half a length up he ducked to the right without any explanation. With that horsepower, the horse does what he wants to and we have no control. Mentally, he's still immature, he's still a baby and he should grow out of it."

The most captivating performance came from Daggers Drawn, whose victory was enough to force him down to as low as 14-1 for the 1998 2,000 Guineas with William Hill. "Potentially, he could be a very decent horse," Cecil said of the colt who will now probably tackle Goodwood's Richmond Stakes. "I have always liked him very much and I would think he is just about the best we have seen so far this year."

One of the best of last year, the 1996 Oaks winner Lady Carla, is to be retired to stud after her disappointing run here on Tuesday, Cecil announced.

The stars must have been in the right conjunction for Khalid Abdullah, who joined in the success of the first three races and added a further two, including the featured Falmouth Stakes with the Nassau Stakes-bound Ryafan. Prince Khalid said that he never expects to win, which means he must be pleasantly surprised on a rather regular basis.

But essentially this was a day for Kieren Fallon, especially as he also received news that reports that he had been jocked off another celebrated Cecil filly, Sleepytime, were premature.

"Headlines saying he has lost the ride are wrong because I have not been in touch with the owner and no decision has been made," Tote Cherry-Downes, racing manager for Charles Wacker III's Greenbay Stables, said. Sleepytime may now go for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. During his sleepytime last night Fallon may have been entertaining thoughts of negotiating a new, improved contract.

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