His first seven mounts in Britain since the summer of 2006 suggest that trainers have lost none of their regard for Kieren Fallon in the meantime. The multiple champion jockey resumes at Lingfield and Kempton tomorrow with a book of rides so diverse that his past difficulties, if never likely to be forgotten, at least seem to have been broadly forgiven.
He starts with a two-year-old trained by Amy Weaver, who houses her horses in Newmarket's smallest yard and is, at 27, the youngest female trainer in the land. And he finishes off, under the floodlights at Kempton nearly seven hours later, riding for the man who will finish the season as champion trainer for the 10th time.
It was to Sir Michael Stoute, of course, that Fallon turned for support and employment when suspended for 18 months after failing a drugs test in France in 2007 – at a time when he was already prohibited from riding on these shores, because of corruption charges he would have to answer at the Old Bailey in London. In the event, the judge ordered for that case to be dismissed, but Fallon hopes to put the whole, traumatic saga behind him now.
He certainly has sound prospects of making a perfect start on Rare Malt, who has shown promise on both her starts in maidens. Bookmakers anticipate that the fidelity of trainers will be shared by the betting public, who have always cherished his indomitable style. "We expect all his mounts to be extremely well backed," said David Stevens, spokesman for Coral. "Fallon had a huge following among punters before his suspension, and despite his run-ins with the racing authorities, we expect him to remain just as popular in betting shops up and down the country when he makes his comeback."
Fallon could win a Group One prize the very next day, on High Standing at Haydock - a possibility now likely to top the weekend agenda after heavy rain reached Leopardstown yesterday. An aversion to soft ground means that Sea The Stars is unlikely to be declared for the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes, leaving Fame And Glory – gunning for revenge after suffering his only defeat behind Sea The Stars at Epsom – as red-hot favourite.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Fame And Glory, yesterday warned that another of his best colts, Rip Van Winkle, is "touch and go" to make the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on 26 September. He is still troubled by the foot problems that have plagued him all year.
His absence would be a big boost to Delegator – and so to Godolphin's hopes of winning only its second Group One prize in Europe since 2007. Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin trainer, reports Delegator to have come out of his impressive debut for the stable last weekend in good form. "Physically he has done very well for the break he had when he first came to us," he said. "He can be the flagship we needed. I told everybody last December that I could see no Classic horses among the group we had, it was very clear. Now Delegator can be that flagship."
The stable's juveniles have had an excellent summer and Al Zir, so impressive on his Newmarket debut, could run at the St Leger meeting next week. "The horse has been working nicely," his trainer said. "Nothing crazy, he's just a relaxed horse, easy to train. He's still quite light, a horse for next year. Some of the two-year-olds can win maidens, but may not be able to go higher – but the ones I really like, that I think can go on, are him, Poet's Voice and Emirates Dream, the Kingmambo colt who won at York. I think the two-year-olds we have now are our best group in four years. And we still have a lot of the more backward, three-year-old types to run during the weeks ahead."
Matching the stable's overall renewal is Rio De La Plata, author of its last juvenile success at the elite level in the 2007 Prix Lagardere. He has not been seen for over a year, but holds an entry in a listed race at Haydock on Saturday. "He has had problems, but we have given him time and he's working nicely now," bin Suroor said.
Turf account: Chris McGrath
Covert Ambition (5.35 Salisbury) Perhaps stepping up all the way to 14f is an extreme way of acknowledging that confining him to 10f has delayed his fulfilment, but even as his form stands, he is the one to beat – and his genes promise improvement for this overdue test of stamina.
Even Bolder (5.0 Salisbury) Has to be forgiven a tame run at Sandown last time, but that will be reflected in the odds, and he had previously shaped as though poised to profit from a falling handicap mark. Down another 2lb today, and has run well here in the past.
One to watch
Silverglas (Marcus Tregoning) conceded a start to Kaolak at Goodwood last weekend, but the way he worked through into second in his first handicap suggests that he will soon be contributing to his stable's revival.
Where the money's going
Main Aim is 6-1 from 7-1 with Totesport for the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday.