Racing: Fallon joins Balding stable

KIEREN FALLON is to ride for Ian Balding in 1999. Fallon, the reigning champion jockey, is No 1 jockey to Henry Cecil's stable but has signed an agreement to ride for Balding when his services are not needed by his main employer.

One reason for Balding's approach to Fallon was the lack of opportunity to use the former champion Frankie Dettori who, over the seasons, has steered home many of Balding's best winners, including the speedsters Lochsong and Lochangel.

"We've always used Frankie when available but he's becoming more and more unavailable," the trainer said. "Henry rarely introduces his two- year-old's until midway through the season. Hopefully our two-year-old's will be ready early in the year and we can have some success with them. There are also a lot of handicaps where Henry isn't involved when we can use Kieren."

The up-and-coming apprentice Adrian Nicholls will also be moving to Balding's Kingsclere base. The son of the trainer David Nicholls, Adrian was attached to Barry Hills's yard last season.

Balding is paving the way for his retirement and his son, Andrew, has joined his father as assistant trainer after two seasons with Jack and Lynda Ramsden, who retired from training last month. The amateur jockey Chris Bonner is also teaming up with Balding as travelling head lad.

Nicholls has already benefited from joining Balding with an extended working holiday in the United States as a prize for becoming last season's leading apprentice at Pontefract.

"We made the way clear for him to join us from Barry's," Balding said. "He will spend an extra fortnight in America and we have made arrangements for him to ride in California."