Fallon dumps Khan for Derby ride on Ballydoyle's Recital

Epsom week got off to a pretty sensational start yesterday when Kieren Fallon discarded one of the leading fancies for the Investec Derby in order to rebuild bridges with his former employers at Ballydoyle. Nor were his incentives for breaking a commitment to Native Khan confined to Recital, one of four runners for the Co Tipperary stable on Saturday. Fallon has also been booked for Wonder Of Wonders, who has outstanding prospects in the Investec Oaks the previous afternoon.

With pleasing symmetry, Native Khan will now be ridden by Johnny Murtagh, who succeeded Fallon at Ballydoyle but resigned the post last autumn.

Just like old times, then – and not simply because Aidan O'Brien will once again be using the most successful Epsom jockey of his day. The whole situation is reminiscent of an era when Lester Piggott's ruthless choice of Derby mount guaranteed a groundswell of support from the betting public.

At 46, Fallon is approaching the veteran stage, but experience is priceless round Epsom and the bottom line is that he has won the Derby and Oaks three and four times respectively. It might well have been more, but for the various prohibitions that notoriously intruded on his prime, between 2006 and 2009. To win either Classic would represent far and away his most precious achievement since his comeback.

Of course, his decision could yet backfire. Among the home colts, only Carlton House is ahead of Native Khan in the betting. Fallon was suspended when the grey, partnered by Olivier Peslier, finished third to Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas. He subsequently won the Derrinstown Trial at Leopardstown on Recital, albeit the colt's demeanour that day did not convince everyone.

Recital was only Fallon's second mount for Ballydoyle since he had so tested the patience of the stable's owners during his tenure as their retained jockey. But Murtagh's defection has left John Magnier and his partners in Coolmore to rely on the best available – above all in big races outside Ireland.

The news was received with due bemusement by Ed Dunlop, trainer of Native Khan, whose owners were understood to have secured a commitment from the six-times champion jockey. Fallon even rode Native Khan in his public excursion round Tattenham Corner last Thursday. In the event, however, he appears to have decided that past obligations to Coolmore supersede even any formal undertakings he may have made, though Wonder Of Wonders presumably helped to quieten his conscience.

Dunlop was no doubt consoled by the fact that Murtagh himself has a superb Epsom record. "Obviously I'm disappointed for the clients, who specifically wanted Kieren," the trainer said. "But I'm very happy with our replacement. We must not forget the horse has run five times, and Fallon has actually only ridden him twice."

Ballydoyle's other main Derby hope, Seville, will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon, who had been booked for the colt's trial with Epsom specifically in view. Certainly Soumillon needs to have learned from the Dante Stakes, as he made culpably little use of Seville's stamina and allowed Carlton House the better of a sprint finish. The extra distance, and likely stronger gallop, could make things closer on Saturday.

Treasure Beach, who looks a good price, will be ridden by Colm O'Donoghue; and O'Brien's flourishing son, Joseph, partners Memphis Tennessee, runner-up in the Derrinstown. Roderic O'Connor heads to Chantilly on Sunday instead. Seamus Heffernan gets his chance on Misty For Me, who joins Wonder Of Wonders in the Oaks.

* Chris McGrath's Nap

Negotiation (7.25 Yarmouth)

Form of his win here last summer proved strong and signs of renewal after a break last time.



* Next best

Dialogue (3.30 Redcar) Well handicapped and looked menacing when ran out of room on his reappearance.



* One to watch

Last Sovereign (Ollie Pears) made a promising return for a new stable at Newcastle last week.



* Where the money's going

Dancing Rain is 14-1 from 16-1 for the Investec Oaks with Totesport.

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?
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: Graduate / Junior Software Developer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Junior Software Deve...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Store Sales Executive

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Sales Executive ...

Recruitment Genius: Night Porters - Seasonal Placement

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Night Porters are required to join a family-ow...

Recruitment Genius: Media Sales Executives - B2B

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Genius Ltd continue...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn