Darley hits top gear as Fallon left on the grid

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The Independent Online

Kieren Fallon, adept at steering his way out of trouble on the track, missed riding at Ayr yesterday after getting stuck in very heavy traffic on the M25. Fallon failed to make it to Luton in time to catch his flight to Glasgow and Kevin Darley took full advantage of the Clareman's absence to close the gap in the championship race with a double on Paradise Garden and Maceo. Darley now has 75 winners to Fallon's 90.

Fallon missed three rides at the Scottish course and, though none of them were winners, his presence was missed aboard Swordplay, who was beaten three-quarters of a length by the Darley-ridden Maceo. Jimmy Fortune deputised for Fallon, but was unable to persuade Swordplay to go through with his effort.

Paradise Garden was taking a drop in class in the seller, but needed plenty of help from Darley, the reigning champion, to hold off Hutchies Lady by a length. The winner was trained by Mark Johnston – who has provided Darley with 24 wins this season – but is off to new pastures, having been bought for 7,000gns by the bookmaker Bryan Dunn, who will send him to Denys Smith.

Favourite misses Mile

Ecclesiastical, who had been favourite for the William Hill Mile at Goodwood next Thursday, has been sold and will miss the race. The Cheveley Park Stud's progressive three-year-old was 10-1 co-market leader for the race with Ladbrokes, having gone down by just a length and a quarter to Analyser in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot. A spokeswoman for the colt's trainer, James Fanshawe, said: "Ecclesiastical has been sold to go abroad." Fanshawe still has Petit Marquis and last year's winner, Persiano, in the £100,000 handicap.