Good, bad and ugly year of the jockey is one to remember

Fallon takes centre stage but should not overshadow Dettori's heroics

Horses should come foremost, for it is they who are at the heart of this game, but 2007 could be remembered as the year of the jockey, good, bad and ugly.Courtroom drama, low-life soap opera, farce, fairytale: all were presented and played out over 12 months as riders revealed themselves in all human guises.

The prime candidate for centre stage, with a leading part in several genres, was, of course, Kieren Fallon, outstandingly the best of his generation but the original flawed genius. In January, already suspended from plying his trade in Britain because of the ultimately infamous court case on fraud charges hanging over him, the Irishman was into the first month of a worldwide ban after testing positive for cocaine after a routine drugs test in France. After he returned to riding in Ireland and France in June, he showed none of his talent to be diminished but that his finger was still on the self-destruct button.

Earlier this month a day after the collapse of the Old Bailey trial that left him vindicated in his protestations of innocence, and racing's rulers and the City of London police looking foolish he managed to snatch disaster from the jaws of triumph as it emerged he had yet again failed a drugs test in France.

Within the next two weeks, Fallon will once again stand accused. This time he is likely to face a long global ban, and the signs are that the patience of his employers at Ballydoyle and Coolmore is now wearing thin.

Though Fallon was exoner-ated of one sort of wrongdoing in the clampdown on race-fixingand corruption, other colleagues did their bit to confirm the public's view of racing as seedy and sordid. In February, Robert Winston was banned for a year after being found guilty of passing information for reward and misleading investigators.

As the year drew to a close, the normally sensible Eddie Ahern was stood down for three months. His actions in whipping a horse so hard as to injure it were judged to have been part of a calculated plan to trigger an inevitable ban hanging over him for serial riding offences to take place during the low-key winterseason. His cynicism backfired badly as he became the firstjockey to bring the sport into disrepute. At least officially.

But set against the weighing-room own-goals came some glorious Exocets into the top corner. At Epsom on the first Saturday in June, Frankie Dettori had racing on the front pages for all the right reasons, blazing to a runaway Derby victory on the favourite, Authorized, the realisation of the Italian's career dream at the 15th attempt.

And, after a gripping head-to-head through the last month of the Flat season, the jockeys' championship went to the very last race. Jamie Spencer neededto win it to draw level with Seb Sanders and did so to force the first tie for 84 years.

Put Fallon on a horse and he does not drop many clangers; his ice-cool performance to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Dylan Thomas, the day beforehis first court appearance, was arguably the ride of the year. But it is by the dedication, competitiveness, grace and dignity of Sanders and Spencer, and the innate style and extrovert enthus-iasm of Dettori, that the year and the sport should be judged.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
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: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

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