Racing: Fallon's odds squeezed after inquiry delay

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The Independent Online

Two major bookmakers yesterday slashed the odds for Kieren Fallon to retain his title as champion jockey after an inquiry into disrepute charges against Fallon was postponed until after the title race is decided in early November.

Two major bookmakers yesterday slashed the odds for Kieren Fallon to retain his title as champion jockey after an inquiry into disrepute charges against Fallon was postponed until after the title race is decided in early November.

Fallon and fellow Flat rider John Egan had been due to face the inquiry sometime in September. John Maxse, director of public relations at the Jockey Club, said at the end of July that they were "looking at the back end of September" for the hearing to take place.

But Maxse's colleague Owen Byrne said yesterday: "It has been delayed indefinitely. We are trying to find a soon-as-possible date but it is possible the case won't be heard before November. There are lots of tapes and various recordings to sift through and it's the volume of information to sort out which is holding things up."

Proceedings against the jockeys date back to allegations brought by undercover News of the World reporters in March. A dossier was delivered to the Jockey Club, but both Fallon and Egan insist they are completely innocent of allegations of race-fixing and have submitted their own evidence.

Fallon was an even-money shot for the title two weeks ago with William Hill, but yesterday the firm squeezed that to 1-7, having been 2-9 in the morning. They pushed out Frankie Dettori's price from 9-2 to 6-1, and Seb Sanders from 8-1 to 10-1.

Hills' spokesman David Hood said: "Kieren Fallon looks virtually unbackable for the jockeys championship now a smart move from his lawyers means his Jockey Club disciplinary hearing has been put back until after the title race is over."

Coral trimmed Fallon to 1-5 from 1-3. Ladbrokes, however, kept to their earlier price of 2-9.

Another top jockey, the American legend Gary Stevens, is leaving his job as rider to the French stable of André Fabre and returning to the United States, it was disclosed yesterday. A talk show is one reason for him going home.

Stevens arrived in France in April to replace Christophe Soumillon and went on to ride 50 winners from 248 rides. "I'm leaving on good terms with Monsieur Fabre," he said. "I'm slightly disappointed with some of the results we've had. Perhaps I've got to take my share of responsibility for some defeats.

"I've been offered a position on a talk show back home, and there might be a part in another movie towards the end of the year," added Stevens, who played a starring role in the Oscar-nominated film Seabiscuit. Stevens intends to continue riding in California.

Nineteen horses remained entered in the St Leger at yesterday's forfeit stage. Rule Of Law and Quiff head the betting for the Doncaster Classic on 11 September.

St Leger: Acropolis, Albinus, Baraka, Book Of Kings, Darsalam, Frank Sonata, Go For Gold, Into The Dark, Let The Lion Roar, Liss Ard, Maraahel, Mikado, Napoleon, Ovation, Percussionist, Quiff, Rule Of Law, Two Miles West, Tycoon.

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