Racing: Fallon leaves Stoute to join O'Brien

The solution to racing's latest who'lldoit - ride the Ballydoyle horses this year, that is - was revealed last night with the announcement that Kieren Fallon is to take the Co Tipperary hot seat. Since the six-times champion jockey checked into the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados on Tuesday, his 40th birthday, speculation had been rife that the Irishman would be going back to his roots to ply his trade. The luxury establishment is part-owned by John Magnier, supremo of the Ballydoyle-Coolmore operation.

The appointment follows the surprise resignation earlier this month of Jamie Spencer after only one season at Ballydoyle. Spencer himself had replaced long-serving Mick Kinane; both jockeys left amid rumours of personality clashes with resident trainer Aidan O'Brien.

Confirmation of Fallon's plum new job came in the form of a brief announcement from Coolmore, the massive stallion station stocked largely by Ballydoyle graduates. "Owners John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith are delighted to announce that Kieren Fallon will be the retained jockey for the horses at Ballydoyle and elsewhere for the 2005 season," it said. It is understood that Fallon will not only ride the O'Brien-trained horses at Ballydoyle, but will also have first call on horses owned by Magnier, Tabor and Smith trained elsewhere.

Fallon's talent as a rider is undeniable; his strength is second to none and his judgement to few, and he has the priceless quality, that sets the great apart from the very good, of winning races on horses that should not win. His personality, though, is not without flaws; throughout his career controversy has been along for the ride - he is currently on bail from the City of London Police as part of the long-running and ongoing investigation into race-fixing - and it says much for his abilities as a horseman that those at Ballydoyle are willing to take him on.

From the rider's point of view, the move to Ireland has in effect put paid to any thoughts of regaining the jockey's championship lost to Frankie Dettori last year. It will also sever his five-year link with Sir Michael Stoute, who has provided him with the last two Derby winners, Kris Kin and North Light, and who has steadfastly stood by him in times of personal and professional trouble. North Light remains in Stoute's yard as a four-year-old and other horses left behind in Newmarket include the brilliant Ed Dunlop-trained filly Ouija Board, the dual Oaks and Breeders' Cup heroine, and one of the winter Derby favourites, the Racing Post Trophy winner Motivator.

Those whom Fallon can now look forward to riding this year, however, include three highly regarded three-year-old colts, Ad Valorem, Footstepsinthesand and Grand Central, plus established top-class performers like Antonius Pius and Powerscourt.

Co Clare-born Fallon started his career as an apprentice with Kevin Prendergast in 1983 and rode his first winner, Piccadilly Lord, at Navan the following year. In 1989 he joined the late Jimmy FitzGerald at Malton until joining Lynda Ramsden's yard, also in Yorkshire, whence he rode for four seasons. At the start of 1997, he was the surprise choice as Henry Cecil's stable jockey, a job which ended two years, and five Classic wins, later in acrimonious circumstances. Fallon joined Stoute at the start of 2000, though from 2002 he rode for the powerful yard as a freelance, rather than under contract. As well as the two Derby winners, Stoute supplied top-class mounts like Russian Rhythm, Golan and King's Best.

Some of Stoute's high-profile owners refused Fallon's services because of his personal shortcomings, but eventually came round. The jockey, who has not been charged with any offence by the police, is due to answer bail in April. The other trough in his life came two years ago, when he attended an alcohol rehabilitation clinic.

Fallon had been riding in the United States this winter, based at Gulfstream Park in Florida, a busman's break he suddenly cut short on Monday. Shortly before, he had spoken of his continued commitment to his job with Stoute, presumably taking the role of a football club chairman to the trainer's position as manager.

The Ballydoyle job became vacant when Spencer, who is back in Britain as a freelance and today marries TV racing presenter Emma Ramsden (daughter of Fallon's former employer), resigned on 6 February. Spencer ended the season as Ireland's champion, but endured much criticism during a year that proved one of the weakest in terms of Ballydoyle firepower.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Midsummer swimwear season is well and truly upon us – but diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice