One tense saga seems unlikely to be resolved today, albeit the British Horseracing Authority expects revised recommendations from the review group that drafted the contentious new whip rules. But another seemed to have run its course yesterday when it emerged that Kieren Fallon is prepared to abandon his quest for a seventh jockeys' title in order to ride overseas during the final week of the campaign.
In a scenario Fallon himself had considered unlikely only days ago, his agent confirmed that he would be riding in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday week. His mount will not be revealed until today, though it would appear of obvious significance that his main patron, Luca Cumani, has a couple of contenders. Fallon has also been linked with the ride on Caspar Netscher at the Breeders' Cup four days later, even as the domestic season draws to a close at Doncaster.
Fallon may well have decided that the writing is on the wall regardless, so far as his pursuit of Paul Hanagan is concerned. At Kempton on Wednesday evening he finished tailed off on an odds-on favourite and then saw the reigning champion ride two of the next three winners, one of them a 20-1 chance. Fallon had been due to go to Brighton for two fancied mounts yesterday, but both were withdrawn and he joined Hanagan at Wolverhampton in the evening with a deficit of 10. Silvestre de Sousa has been in more prolific form than either rider over the past fortnight, and was still only six behind Hanagan yesterday, but is serving a four-day suspension. Coral quote Hanagan 1-7 to retain the title, with Fallon out from 4-1 to join De Sousa on 7-1.
Once the dust settles on the Melbourne Cup, the locals will turn their attention to Kentucky to see how their exported champion fares in the Breeders' Cup Classic. So You Think could not match the acceleration of Cirrus Des Aigles at Ascot last Saturday, but did little to discourage the suspicion his style of running may be well suited to dirt. And yesterday his part-owner, Dato Tan Chin Nam, indicated that So You Think will proceed to Churchill Downs despite a second hard race in 13 days. This time last year, in fairness, So You Think contested four elite prizes in a month, winning three before running a huge race in the Melbourne Cup.
Chin Nam, who retained a share in the horse after his sale to Coolmore, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "He could have won three Cox Plates but we wanted to take on the world. He has showcased Australian racing to the world, and showed that we can match them. It has taken two course records to beat him [in his last two starts]. I hope he can go better in America."
Chris McGrath's Nap
Elusivity (3.45 Doncaster) Added to his near misses last time but even so confirmed his improvement at this trip.
Courtesy Call (3.10 Doncaster) Found Wolverhampton too sharp on his last two starts, shaping nicely all the same.
One to watch
Bonnie Charlie (David Nicholls) is handicapped to retrieve top form for his new stable, flying home for third at Pontefract on Monday.