Fallon clinging to hope of escape from a new nightmare

The tumultuous rhythms of Kieren Fallon's career have never produced a crescendo quite as discordant as the one that seems to deafen us all now. Yesterday Fallon remained adamant that the drugs test he failed at Deauville in August as sensations go, a sequel that surpassed even the collapse of his trial in the Old Bailey on Friday would prove just another exercise in patiently clearing his name. At the same time, however, on the other side of the world, the man who trains his best mounts was fearing that Fallon had again been betrayed by the frailties that undermine one of the most potent personalities in sport.

Predictably, this latest chapter in a bewildering saga seemed to sustain its abiding theme of ambiguity. On the face of it, testing positive for cocaine after winning a Group One race on 19 August on a horse named, of all things, Myboycharlie would seem the clearest possible confirmation of a grotesque instinct for self-destruction in the six-time champion jockey. After all, it was only two months previously that Fallon had completed a six-month ban after failing another test in France last year.

In any humane judgement, these lapses might well reflect the oafish calumny he has endured during the three and a half years since his arrest. Yet this episode at the age of 42 will be the final straw even for some of his most loyal supporters.

Fallon's lawyers are generally thought to be waiting for the results of counteranalysis, but it is understood that these have already arrived, and corroborate the first test. Apparently, however, the peculiar purity of the sample defies lucid explanation. As a rule, by the time it leaves the body, cocaine is broken down into the sort of metabolite traced in the sample that Fallon gave when he was banned last year.

Fallon himself wants to leave all hypotheses to his lawyers, who hope to accelerate the French disciplinary procedure to the point where the situation can be resolved within days. For now he simply reiterates the sort of plea of innocence that has already found spectacular vindication once.

He admits that he was aware of the new storm on the horizon throughout the two months of his trial. "It was a killer, knowing that it was there to be dealt with afterwards," he said. "It put a dampener on the whole thing, on all the relief of the trial ending."

His employers at Coolmore Stud John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith showed Fallon great fidelity throughout his battle to clear his name of race-fixing allegations. Indeed, it is believed that they spent 3m in exposing the scandalous inadequacy of the case against him. He remained their first-choice rider wherever possible, even though he could not ride in Britain after his licence here was contentiously suspended pending the trial. But their rather muted celebration of the judge's decision to throw out the case a statement did not match their sympathy over Fallon's ordeal with any commitments as to his future is now rather easier to understand.

Their principal trainer is Aidan O'Brien, who yesterday noted that Fallon had a history of addiction quite apart from that first failed test, he has been treated for alcoholism and that the most obvious inference from a positive test was a depressing one.

"The poor fellow had a problem before he came to us and, by the look of it, he still does now," O'Brien said. "Everyone has done everything they can, and I'm sure they will continue to support him now. Because it's the same for him as anyone else, it's help he needs. I talked to him after the court case, he was in fairyland at that time. But there's a long road ahead of him now."

Whatever his lawyers can achieve, Fallon must climb from an abyss even deeper than the one into which he was pushed by the serial misjudgements of his accusers. If things do go against him, there is a recent precedent of 18 months suspension for a second offence in France. Either way, his renewal as a rider will have to be matched by an equivalent process in his own nature. For if the trial did divulge one flaw in Fallon, it was his choice of friends. As one, much wiser ally lamented yesterday: "The trouble is that Kieren has never hit the ground. There have always been people to catch him. Perhaps he is one of those men who need to go through the pain, before they can stop themselves falling again."

Of course, even if sidelined for another 18 months, Fallon would still be 10 years younger than Lester Piggott with whom he shares so many paradoxes of sporting genius when he made his own return to the saddle. You can never tell how many lives Fallon has already used. But if it is not nine, then there can be little doubt now that it must be at least eight.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
News
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor