Racing: Fallon's career in ruins after French impose six-month drug ban

What may be the final nail in Kieren Fallon's riding coffin was hammered in yesterday by the French racing authorities. France Galop, the Gallic equivalent of the Horserace Regulatory Authority, has banned the troubled jockey for six months for testing positive for a prohibited substance.

The French ban, set to begin today week, will be reciprocated in other countries, including Fallon's native Ireland and Britain. Fallon is currently barred from riding in this country because he has been charged by police with conspiracy to defraud Betfair punters but even if he was cleared of those criminal charges the drugs ban would still apply.

After suspending Fallon pending his trial, the HRA did not ask other racing jurisdictions to follow suit. Some did - after being rejected in Chicago, the rider sat out the Breeders' Cup meeting in Kentucky earlier this month and learned on Monday that he would not be welcome at Hong Kong's forthcoming major festival - but Ireland's Turf Club, home of Fallon's employers, the Co Tipperary-based Ballydoyle/Coolmore operation, did not impose a ban.

Neither did the French; the six-time champion's latest misdemeanour stems from a routine test after riding the Aidan O'Brien-trained Ivan Denisovich into eighth place in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly in July.

Fallon tested positive for a metabolite of a prohibited substance, which is classified as a strict liability offence. The substance was not named and the traces were small - so low, according to an expert witness, Dr Michael Lewis, "as to admit that the possibility that the test result arose solely as a consequence of environmental contact" - but the serious status of the offence means a ban is a no-option consequence, regardless of cause or circumstance.

Henri Pouret of France Galop said: "Kieren Fallon has been notified that he has a suspension of six months after he tested positive for a prohibited substance. He has the right to appeal but both A and B samples tested positive." If Fallon opts to appeal, he has until midnight tomorrow to do so.

Fallon has been accused of many things during his turbulent career, but this is the first time he has failed a drugs test. His solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said: "Over the course of his long riding career, Kieren Fallon has been tested by authorities all over the world and the results have always been negative. In this case, only trace levels were detected and these are considerably lower than generally accepted thresholds for positive results. Kieren is dismayed at this turn of events but understands that as it is a strict liability offence, France Galop has no alternative but to impose a suspension."

The ban will run until 6 June next year, the Wednesday after the Derby. Thus, Fallon will miss the first half of the European Classic season, putting his principal boss, John Magnier of Coolmore, in a difficult position, though the operation is, at this stage, standing by their man. A spokesperson for Coolmore said last night: "John Magnier, Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Aidan O'Brien have learned of Kieren Fallon's suspension by France Galop. During that period, they will continue to use the best jockey available to them."

The Coolmore operation have recently called on the services of the veteran Mick Kinane in Britain and the United States.

The Irish authorities confirmed that they would uphold the French punishment. Denis Egan, chief executive of the Irish Turf Club, said yesterday evening: "The stewards need to meet first but I would imagine he will be banned from riding in Ireland as well. The international jurisdictions sign up to an agreement that if something as straightforward as this happens, we follow their decision. As both ourselves and France Galop are signed up to the agreement it seems likely he will be banned from riding in Ireland."

Fallon, one of the most sublime talents to ever sit astride a horse, has already indicated that he was ready to call time on his career himself, mooting training as an alternative.

Before riding Yeats in the Melbourne Cup three weeks ago, he said: "With everything that's been thrown at me, I could just give up riding. Racing used to be so much more enjoyable but as a jockey the spotlight is on in a bad way, not a good way, now.

"My team need a jockey who is free to ride everywhere. And if the job went, I'd quit. I wouldn't carry on riding no-hopers round Listowel, not after riding favourites in the Classics."

Fallon's highs and lows: Career of a troubled rider

Born: 22 February, 1965, Crusheen, Co Clare, Ireland.

Early career: Hails from a family with no racing connections but joined Curragh trainer Kevin Prendergast on 17th birthday. In 1988 crossed Irish Sea to become apprentice to Yorkshire trainer Jimmy Fitzgerald.

Rough and tumble: In 1993 accepted job with Lynda Ramsden. As career set to take off, banned for six months for dragging jockey Stuart Webster off a horse after finish of a race at Beverley in 1994.

Big break: In 1996 appointed stable jockey to nine-times champion Henry Cecil. Won first Classic on Sleepytime in 1,000 Guineas, and then Oaks on Reams Of Verse.

Changes camp: Won Derby on Oath for Cecil in 1998, but split midway through season. Joined Newmarket rival Sir Michael Stoute in 2000. Get off to flying start in 2,000 Guineas with King's Best but fall at Royal Ascot causes injury to shoulder which almost ends his career.

Titled: Champion for sixth time in 2003, riding 221 winners, including Kris Kin in Derby.

Trouble brewing: In 2005 eased Ballinger Ridge in minor race at Lingfield, causing him to be caught on line. Suspended for three weeks and relinquishes crown to Frankie Dettori.

Arrested: In September 2004 arrested by police as part of race-fixing investigation. Eventually charged with conspiracy to defraud.

Back home: Leaves Stoute in 2005 to return to Ireland as rider for Aidan O'Brien. Wins Irish Derby in successive years on subsequent Arc winner Hurricane Run and Dylan Thomas.

There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Manufacturing Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a rare opportunity for ...

Recruitment Genius: Conveyancing Fee Earner / Technical Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Fee Earner/Techn...

Recruitment Genius: Receptionist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This law firm is seeking a happy, helpful and ...

The Jenrick Group: Production Supervisor

£26000 - £29000 per annum + Holidays & Pension: The Jenrick Group: Production ...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'