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.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week