Racing: Fallon hits back at BBC by refusing interviews

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The Independent Online

The champion Flat jockey, Kieren Fallon, has told the BBC that he will not be giving interviews to them on either television or radio following his continuing legal battle with the former Jockey Club security chief Roger Buffham over the Panorama investigation into horse-racing entitled "The Corruption of Racing".

Fallon has not said how long the ban might last and his decision comes at an inconvenient time, just three days before the high-profile BBC-televised King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, which Fallon won last year on Golan. On Saturday, Fallon partners the Derby winner, Kris Kin, second or third favourite in most lists at around 5-1.

But viewers will be unable to hear the rider's views on this year's race, or indeed, Glorious Goodwood, which starts next Tuesday.

A spokesman for the BBC said: "Mr Fallon is not willing to talk to the BBC because he has on-going litigation, to which the BBC is not a party, which he feels he needs to resolve before he can be interviewed again."

Last October, Fallon started proceedings in the High Court in London against Roger Buffham, the Jockey Club's former head of security, in the run-up to the BBC's controversial edition of Panorama.

Buffham had acted as consultant for the BBC in the expose on racing, which was screened on 6 October, and Fallon's decision not to talk to the BBC is linked to the programme, in which he appeared.

Five Godolphin horses - Sulamani, Grandera, Leadership, Mamool and Narrative were among the 16 runners declared for Saturday's race, when the Classic generation take on the older horses, at the five-day confirmation stage on Monday and a decision regarding final running plans will not be made until later in the week.

The preparation of the Irish Derby winner, Alamshar, for the £750,000 Ascot showpiece is going according to plan. The Epsom Derby third overcame a late injury scare when winning the Irish equivalent and is now 11-4 favourite for the King George.

The Aga Khan's colt was suffering from a back problem just two days before the Curragh Classic. John Oxx, his trainer, said yesterday: "He seems fine. I wouldn't say we have no problems but it's kept under control and he's in good form at the moment."

Nayef, who finished just a head behind Golan in second last year, has been pleasing his trainer, Marcus Tregoning, in his preparation. Tregoning said: "He's working well and his weight is good and we are very happy with him. I've always thought the faster the going the better because he handles it so much better than a lot of others.

"He has got a beautiful action and he's suited by fast conditions. If there is a downpour they've all got to go on it and he's got form on fastish ground as well. I'm hoping for fast ground."

Tregoning rates Sulamani a big threat. He added: "If Sulamani comes back to his best and it rains he's very much a danger. He's a very good horse. But we are very happy with ours. He's in as good a form as we've seen him before a big race."

The 36-day historic Saratoga meeting begins in up-state New York today and even European observers will be taking an interest as the fixture's highlight will be the rematch between Funny Cide and Empire Maker in Saratoga's 134th running of the Grade One, $1m [£627,000] Travers Stakes, "the Mid-Summer Derby" for three-year-olds over a mile and a quarter, on Saturday, 23 August.

Winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Funny Cide finished a five-length third to Empire Maker in last month's Belmont Stakes. Although he has never raced at Saratoga, Funny Cide was foaled only a few miles from Saratoga racecourse at McMahon Thoroughbreds near Saratoga Lake.

Inamorato, an unlucky third under Frankie Dettori in the UAE Derby won by Victory Moon at Nad al Sheba on 29 March, provides an tenuous form line to the winner's chances in Saturday's King George when he runs in the second race at Saratoga today (approx 18.30pm).


BETTING: Coral: 11-4 Alamshar, 9-2 Nayef, 5-1 Kris Kin, 6-1 Sulamani, 7-1 Falbrav, 12-1 Indian Creek, Warrsan, Bollin Eric, Victory Moon, 20-1 and upwards others.

William Hill: 11-4 Alamshar, 9-2 Kris Kin, Nayef, 11-2 Sulamani, 7-1 Falbrav, 11-1 Victory Moon, 14-1 Bollin Eric, 16-1 Indian Creek, Warrsan, 20-1 and upwards others.

Tote: 11-4 Alamshar, 9-2 Kris Kin, Nayef, 5-1 Sulamani, 8-1 Falbrav, 12-1 Victory Moon, 16-1 Indian Creek, Warrsan, Bollin Eric, Leadership, 20-1 and upwards others.

Ladbrokes: 5-2 Alamshar, 4-1 Nayef, 5-1 Kris Kin, 6-1 Sulamani, 7-1 Falbrav, 12-1 Victory Moon, 14-1 Millenary, 16-1 Indian Creek, Warrsan, 20-1 and upwards others.