Good, bad and ugly year of the jockey is one to remember - Racing - Sport - The Independent

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.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week