Racing: Fallon surges on to 200 turf winners

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The Independent Online

The trainer Mark Johnston and jockey Keith Dalgleish ended their losing runs in tremendous style when Nero's Return made an impressive winning debut at York yesterday. The Middleham handler had not had a winner for three weeks and Dalgleish had been out of luck for a month. But Nero's Return put them back on track, winning the maiden by 10 lengths at odds of 14-1.

"We have been unable to work our horses because of the firm ground, so we didn't know what to expect," Deirdre Johnston, the trainer's wife, said.

"We would like to get another race into Nero's Return. The owner has been really patient. The horse had sore shins on and off and niggling problems, so as long as he's absolutely fine we'd love to run him again. The bookmakers Victor Chandler were impressed by the winner and make him 33-1 for the 2,000 Guineas.

While Johnston is the leading trainer numerically with 131 winners, the top jockey is undoubtedly Kieren Fallon. He brought up 200 winners on the turf during the Flat season when Putra Sas landed the odds in the opening median auction stakes.

Fallon, also the leading jockey at York this year with 15 wins, was taking his tally to 211 overall for the year. On this occasion, though, he did not win as convincingly as supporters of the 4-11 shot would have liked, as the 7-2 second favourite, Sun Of Speed, made a good race of it before losing by two lengths.

"He's a good horse and gave me a great feel," said Fallon, who is sailing towards his sixth title. "It helps when your horses are in great form, and Sir Michael Stoute's horses all year have been running really well. And of course Dave Pollington, my agent, does a great job. He has a habit of finding the best horses in big handicaps."