Kieren Fallon's decision to appeal against a 10-day ban for a riding offence was partially vindicated yesterday after his punishment was reduced to seven days. But the former champion jockey will still miss the potentially rich pickings of next weekend's Guineas meeting at Newmarket, including a plum ride in the season's first Classic, the Qipco 2,000 Guineas.
Fallon was suspended at Kempton last week after the local stewards judged that his act of easing off in the final strides had cost his mount Sukhothai, caught on the line by a fast finisher, the runner-up spot. The British Horseracing Authority's review panel agreed he had failed to ride out to the finish, but were less certain he would have finished second, hence the downgrading.
The Irishman will be able to resume on 3 May, in time for the three-day fixture at Chester, but that may be little comfort should Native Khan, whom he would have ridden in the Guineas, turn over the hot favourite Frankel.
Native Khan's trainer, Ed Dunlop, has yet to line up a replacement in the saddle, but does not envisage any problem. "He's straightforward enough to ride," he said of the strapping grey son of Azamour, "and I'm sure we won't be short of volunteers."
Dunlop acknowledges that vanquishing Frankel may be more of a task, but did express approval of both Native Khan's condition since his Craven Stakes victory and the prospect of fine weather in Newmarket. "That race last week did him the world of good," he said yesterday. "And although we're taking on a horse who might be one of the best we've seen in recent years, one thing in our favour is that ours really likes fast ground."
By contrast, the conditions on the Rowley Mile – mostly good to firm – are less to the liking of Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of leading 1,000 Guineas fancy Havant.
"She has taken her time to come right," said Stoute, " but that has been less of a concern than what effect this freak weather is having on the ground. She has done her winning on softer." Havant has been leapfrogged in some lists by French raider Moonlight Cloud, now as short as 9-2.
One rider who did emerge happy from the BHA's London headquarters yesterday was Jason Maguire, whose 10-day suspension earned at Weatherby on Sunday was quashed. He admitted going the wrong side of a course marker, but the panel accepted he had done so to avoid an injured jockey.