Fallon moving through the gears

Form and confidence returning as winners mount for the veteran jockey

Nothing, manifestly, can ever be taken for granted with this man. So far, however, it must be said that Kieren Fallon's comeback has not only been entirely in keeping with a career of extremes, but also far more suggestive of peaks than troughs. After riding a treble at Folkestone on Monday, yesterday he began the Ladbrokes St Leger meeting with a 21-1 double in the sunshine. If he carries on like this, he will look the bet of a lifetime for that seventh jockeys' championship in 2010. He has quickly made Ryan Moore's rivals, during his absence, seem either stale or dilettante.

It was only last Friday that Fallon ended an 18-month worldwide suspension for a failed drugs test, having previously been prohibited from riding in Britain for a similar period on account of what proved a risible prosecution at the Old Bailey. At first, moreover, he looked every bit as rusty as might be expected. Individual cogs remained in place but the transmission, between instinct and deed, was no less clearly snagging and slipping.

Since riding that critical first winner, at Wolverhampton on Saturday night, something has snapped back into place. His three winners at Folkestone came from four rides; the other one was beaten in a photo. After drawing a blank at Goodwood the next day, Fallon arrived here to ride a colt named Audacity Of Hope in the opener. For much of the race, little seemed to be going right; his mount was wasting energy, and short of room. Once angled to the outside, however, he cut them all down with a flourish.

His next mount was Strike The Deal in the DFS Scarbrough Stakes, highlight of the meeting's first day – not, admittedly, much of a distinction now that its best races have been loaded on to Saturday's card. Dropped to five furlongs, Strike The Deal was taken off his feet, still last and going nowhere with 300 yards to run. But Fallon kept pushing, the horse suddenly began to flow, and they got up to win by a length, going away.

"I wouldn't say it's there yet, but it's coming," he reflected. "With every ride, there's more confidence. It's about getting back into the rhythm. In these bigger fields, especially, you're trying to follow the right one. It's the breeches you follow, more than the colours – you get to know the other jockeys' logos. It's like a game of chess, you're watching every piece on the board, want to know they're all covered."

On Audacity Of Hope, for instance, his original intention was to head inside. "That's what I'd have done last Friday, and I'd have got stuck," he admitted. "But I could see plenty of them going nicely, and they would have got the splits before me, and then I'd be chasing. So I took him wide instead. On the first day, I was trying to make things happen, but it's when you ride with confidence that you make least mistakes."

Fallon's morale had already been boosted by an approach from no less a trainer than Andre Fabre to ride in the Arc trials at Longchamp on Sunday. His agent, however, has expressed a bemusing preference for sending him to Ffos Las instead.

In the meantime, he has some important mounts for Luca Cumani, the man who supplied him with all three of his Folkestone winners. Today he rides Fantasia, brilliant winner of the Nell Gwyn Stakes in the spring before twice disappointing in Classics, in the JRA Sceptre Stakes; and tomorrow he partners Seta, already favourite for the Stan James 1,000 Guineas after winning a Newmarket maiden by eight lengths, in the DFS May Hill Stakes.

What's more, his mount in the opener today, Coordinated Cut, has already been backed for next year's Investec Derby. Like Monitor Closely, who runs in the big one on Saturday, this Montjeu colt is trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam for the young City lion, Lawrie Inman, who paid 325,000 guineas for him as a yearling. Sky Bet have laid Coordinated Cut at 50-1 for Epsom, and offer 33-1 before his debut today.

Even by Fallon's standards, finding a Derby colt within a week seems a bit much to ask. Still, as he said himself: "In this game, the one thing you do need is luck. I know you make your own, as well, but you can't do without it."

Remarkably, despite being flat out, he got Strike The Deal home without once reaching for the whip. It was almost as though he won by force of personality. He still has a long way to go, of course, and it will always be day by day. But whether or not he knows how Audacity Of Hope was named, he has plainly absorbed the message. In everything he is doing, he is saying exactly the same: "Yes we can."

Turf account: Chris McGrath


Queen of Thebes (9.05 Kempton) Caught the eye on her return from a break at Lingfield last week, short of room before finishing fast – all in all showing renewed signs of life, having dropped sharply down the handicap earlier in the season.

Next best

To Be Or Not To Be (7.35 Kempton) Shaped as if poised to hit form at Thirsk last time, making a commendable impact from off a steady pace, and returns to the course and distance of her first success last winter.

One to watch

Violent Velocity (John Quinn) looked better than ever when foiled only by a flourishing rival at York on Sunday. He would have given him a real race had he not met traffic at the rear.

Where the money's going

Alfred Nobel is 13-8 from 9-4 with William Hill for the Ladbrokes National Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Analyst - London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL Server Reporting Analyst (Busine...

Ashdown Group: Microsoft Dynamics Consultant - Watford - £65,000 + Bonus.

£50000 - £65000 per annum + bonus and benefits: Ashdown Group: Dynamics Expert...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - London - up to £48,000

£38000 - £48000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Senior ...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower