Racing: Suspension puts Fallon's champion status at risk

There is just about only one story in sport at the moment. It concerns an obsessed Irishman whose disciplinary problems appear to be putting a championship at stake.

But then there is much to connect Roy Keane and Kieren Fallon, both of whom are slim and relatively small until it comes to the effect of their gaze and body language. The footballer is out for six weeks and, while the jockey is about to be absent for less than a fortnight, it may be his suspension which has the greatest effect on the destiny of a season-long prize, in his case the riders' championship.

Fallon started yesterday 13 winners ahead of Richard Hughes in the title race but ended it several lengths behind after being saddled with a 13-day suspension at the Jockey Club. A further four-day ban is in the equation and will be activated if he commits another offence within three months.

The misfortune of others made it a memorable day for Hughes. Following Olivier Peslier's fall in France on Wednesday and consequent break to his collar-bone, the tall jockey was yesterday booked to ride Banks Hill in Sunday's Prix du Moulin at Longchamp.

Fallon made no comment at Portman Square and on occasions like that it is always best not to press him too rigorously. There were words, however, from Michael Caulfield, the secretary of the Jockeys' Association, who was critical of the totting-up procedure under which his man was punished.

The champion's culpability in a case of irresponsible riding of a minor nature at Newmarket last month triggered yesterday's ban as he had already accrued 16 days of suspensions in the past 12 months.

"Some would say it is a little harsh but Kieren came here today knowing that he would get a ban and it's got to be served," Caulfield said. "But there is a feeling in the weighing room, which I share, that we need to improve the totting-up system.

"You haven't got to be a genius to work out that if you are a top jockey, who is riding in 600 to 1,000 races a year, you are going to make a couple of mistakes during that time. You have a bad month, a bad week and it's all over.

"I can understand all forms of regulation. I know why it is in place but the totting-up system offers no encouragement for jockeys. I am confused by the will to punish and punish again. Kieren has had six minor bans this year, all of two or three days, and now he has this as well. I'm not sure what purpose it serves.

"I would like to see incentives introduced to reward jockeys – those who don't commit offences for long periods could have time taken off any suspensions they receive. When a jockey reaches the edge of the threshold they are riding with something hanging over them and that can't be helpful."

In a second hearing at the Jockey Club there was further evidence that results at Portman Square are as reliable as those of Portman Park. Grimaldi must have been chairman of the panel as racing's police discussed the case of Recount, whose run at Lingfield last week launched a raft of penalties.

The gelding was banned for 40 days, his jockey Ricky Lake for 10 and the trainer John Best fined £1,600 by the local stewards under the non-triers rule. Recount had finished lame, as did the Jockey Club's logic yesterday after they exonerated horse and trainer, but let Lake's suspension stand.

"The stewards accepted that the horse finished lame and that is why he didn't show his form," the rider said. "But they haven't been able to explain themselves as to what I should do in future if I ride a horse which I feel isn't right.

"I asked them whether I should ride a horse all the way out to the line if I suspect he is lame and they weren't able to give me an answer."

John Maxse, for the Jockey Club, was pushed through the curtains to explain the decision. "The video evidence didn't demonstrate clearly that Lake felt a problem had occurred during the race," he said, "and therefore he was found in breach of that rule."

In one sense Maxse was right. It was not the video which demonstrated there was a problem. It was the horse.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world