While pulling up on his mount Gymcrak Flyer after finishing unplaced in the John Mangles Memorial Handicap, Fallon appeared to grab Webster, who had ridden the winner, Sailormaite, and drag him from the saddle.
Both jockeys were immediately summoned before the stewards to explain the incident, Webster emerging from the weighing room with a bloody nose, and Fallon with a sticking plaster on his forehead. Both jockeys declined to comment.
Tension between the riders may date to a recent race at Southwell, after which Fallon was disqualified from first and banned for seven days after an objection by Webster. In yesterday's race, Fallon appeared to be short of running room as Webster and apprentice John Stack on Royal Interval jostled for position.
After viewing a video of the race, the stewards decided that Fallon had deliberately pulled Webster from his mount and immediately referred the matter to Portman Square. Fallon's season so far has been extremely successful but his moment of stupidity yesterday may undo all the hard work.
The outlook is also somewhat gloomy for Adam Kondrat, who steered The Fellow to success in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham last season. That victory was a conclusive riposte to Kondrat's British detractors, many of whom claimed that lack of physical encouragement at a vital moment had denied The Fellow two previous Gold Cups - Francois Doumen's gelding was beaten a short-head in consecutive years.
There is some irony, then, in the revelation that Kondrat has been relieved of his duties on The Fellow because the Marquesa de Moratella, his owner, objected to his use of the whip in a prep race for the Grand Steeplechase de Paris in May. The Fellow won that race, but went on to finish 30 lengths behind Ucello II, also trained by Doumen, in the Grand Steeple itself. The ride on the Gold Cup winner, who is still only nine years old, is now expected to pass to Ucello II's jockey, Chris Aubert.
The Fellow's success at Cheltenham was a considerable achievement, particularly in view of his two narrow defeats, but an attraction of the winter game is that it creates heroes at every level. Manhattan Boy never won anything more valuable than a selling hurdle, but he did so 14 times, and always at Plumpton, a record which earned him a loyal following.
Manhattan Boy was back at Plumpton on Monday to chase his 15th win, but yesterday John Ffitch-Heyes, his trainer, revealed that there will be no more trips to the track for the 12-year-old. 'He got struck into on an old injury and so he has been retired,' the trainer said. 'He will now go out into a field and enjoy himself.'
Manhattan Boy certainly deserves a retirement to match that of Pendil, who has been put down at the age of 29. Trained by Fred Winter, Pendil was one of the top chasers of the Seventies, unbeaten in his first 11 races over fences before his short-head defeat by The Dikler in the 1973 Gold Cup. His 28 victories included two in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, his own favourite track.
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