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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea