Racing: Fallon is fined for misleading the Jockey Club

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The Independent Online
The bulging file which contains Kieren Fallon's disciplinary record will be forced to accommodate yet another entry after the rider was fined pounds 1,500 following a Disciplinary Committee hearing at Jockey Club headquarters in Portman Square yesterday afternoon. The committee decided that Fallon, who will fill one of the most coveted posts in racing when he takes over as Henry Cecil's stable jockey next spring, had misled them as to his reasons for missing an earlier inquiry in July.

Fallon was found to be in breach of Rule 220 (viii), under which it is an offence "deliberately to mislead or by an overt act endeavour to mislead . . . the stewards of the Jockey Club." He is believed to be the first rider to be charged under this rule, which more normally applies to trainers or owners who make misleading statements in licence applications.

The background to yesterday's case dates back to a hearing scheduled for 10 July to investigate a charge that Fallon had ridden when medically disqualified from doing so. The rider failed to attend that hearing. A subsequent inquiry on 18 July found him guilty of this offence - he was fined pounds 500 - and also demanded an explanation for his previous non-appearance. Fallon claimed that traffic problems had kept him away from Portman Square, but the committee was not convinced and banned him for five days for making "insufficient effort to attend".

Yesterday's summons to Portman Square was as a result of "further information" received by the Jockey Club as to the reason for his absence. The precise nature of this information stayed firmly behind the closed doors of the committee room, but according to a statement released by the Club yesterday evening, "the Committee was satisfied that Fallon was not in his car when his driver was stopped by the police at 2.40am on 10 July as originally alleged, but nevertheless found him to be in breach of rule 220 (viii) in that he had deliberately misled the committee concerning how he had spent the night prior to the hearing on 10 July at which had failed to attend."

David Pipe, the Jockey Club's spokesman, said: "When he came up last time his explanation was deemed to be unacceptable, whereas this time it was deemed to be untruthful, but as far as we're concerned, this is the end of the matter."

Fallon's views on the case arrived via his solictor, Stephen Parker, though only a little extra light was shed on the events of 10 July. "The driver of Mr Fallon's car was successfully prosecuted for a road-traffic offence on the morning of 10 July and has been dismissed from Mr Fallon's employment," Parker said. "The committee accepted that Kieren Fallon was not in the car when the driver was stopped by police, and also withdrew an allegation that Mr Fallon went to Newmarket police station at 5am [on the morning of 10 July] to repossess his riding equipment that had been impounded in the car. Notwithstanding this, the committee was not satisfied with Mr Fallon's explanation on where he stayed on the night prior to 10 July."

The case may be closed, but for Fallon it is an unfortunate postscript to the season when he would prefer to be accentuating the positive. Ever since he hauled Stuart Webster, a fellow rider, from the saddle after a race at Beverley in 1994, he has struggled to shed a reputation for persistent misbehaviour. He must hope that after his arrival at Warren Place next year, he will no longer be on first-name terms with the receptionist at Portman Square. As his solicitor put it, "Mr Fallon is looking forward to another successful season next year to enable him to pay the fine."