Racing: Fallon aims to ride on despite fall

A heavy fall for Kieren Fallon at Leicester yesterday resulted in the champion jockey being taken to hospital, removed from the track by stretcher and ambulance. Although later discharged, the day may mark the moment when Fallon's challenge to Frankie Dettori for this year's jockeys' title collapsed as his rival was ensuring that even with full health it would be a tough task for the Irishman, a treble extending his lead in the championship race to 13.

A heavy fall for Kieren Fallon at Leicester yesterday resulted in the champion jockey being taken to hospital, removed from the track by stretcher and ambulance. Although later discharged, the day may mark the moment when Fallon's challenge to Frankie Dettori for this year's jockeys' title collapsed as his rival was ensuring that even with full health it would be a tough task for the Irishman, a treble extending his lead in the championship race to 13.

The prosaic setting of the second division of the EBF Hare Maiden Fillies' Stakes, at 5.10, may go down as the contest which sealed this season's scamper for the riders' crown.

A stewards' inquiry after the race determined that Fallon's calamity was caused by Richard Hughes's mount, Abide, which clipped the heels of a rival, lurched left and barged into the champion's mount. Fallon, 39, was thrown to the ground as he tumbled from the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Maritima in scrimmaging over a furlong from the finish. His mount was the worst sufferer as several of the runners came into contact as they went to make their challenges in the 19-runner event. Having been catapulted out of the saddle, Fallon was then kicked by another horse, Bowled Out.

Paramedics were immediately on the scene to attend to the champion, who remained conscious throughout the incident but was complaining of pain in his back. He was taken on stretcher into a waiting ambulance and transported to Leicester Royal Infirmary.

"Kieren was conscious while he was being attended to," Jimmy Stevenson, the clerk of the course, said. "He has been taken to hospital for x-rays."

A hospital spokesman said last night: "Kieren has undergone a series of tests, as any person who has suffered a heavy fall and a bump on the head would."

Fallon's agent, Dave Pollington, said: "There is nothing broken, though he did have quite a bang on the head."

The pain probably did not abate much when Fallon was informed that, as was lying prostrate on the ground, Dettori was completing a treble further up the track on the $1.5m filly, Saywaan.

The final race, due off at 5.40, was delayed by 27 minutes as the paramedic team went about their business. By then, bookmakers had already suspended betting on a jockeys' championship already moving inexorably Dettori's way.

Fallon is in pursuit of a fourth consecutive title and his seventh in total. The last time he was not champion jockey was the millennium year, a season brusquely interrupted when he was brought down on Alhawa while riding in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting. The shoulder injury he received in that incident almost cost him his career.

Fallon had been booked to ride in six of the eight races at Leicester again today, including the debutant Flag Lieutenant for the Queen and Sir Michael Stoute in the opening race which Stoute has won on five occasions in the last 10 years.

Dettori is chasing his third championship, but his first since 1995. His renewed appetite for the rigours of travelling around the country has coincided with the arrival of even greater firepower at the Godolphin team for whom he is the contracted jockey.

Dettori, who now leads his great rival by 181 to 168, opened up further leeway on Saturday, when he rode four winners to Fallon's one. Saywaan's victory yesterday followed the earlier successes of Yashin and Sunday Symphony.

Yashin, at 11-2, ran out a ridiculously easy winner of the 10-furlong Stoat Selling Stakes by eight lengths from Fallon on Mark Tompkins's Smart Boy Prince. "I have been riding him over seven furlongs and begging Mr Tompkins to step him up in trip and he must have listened to me," Dettori said.

Next came another well-bred Godolphin horse, Sunday Symphony, who got on top late on to beat the rallying Bayeux De Moi in a conditions stakes. The 11-10 favourite took plenty of time to get going under Dettori, but, despite hanging left, stayed on to snatch the spoils by half a length.

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