CLARE’S greatest ever horseman Kieren Fallon became the toast of the sport of kings once more last Saturday when he made a triumphant return to the English Classic winner’s enclosure for the first time in eight years.
The Ballinruan maestro, who will turn 50 next year rolled back the years with a vintage display at Newmarket as Night of Thunder gave him his fifth success in the 2,000 Guineas.
The stunning success of the 40-1 outsider gave Fallon – the most gifted yet controversial jockey of his generation – his 16th English Classic win, placing him joint eighth in the all-time list of major race winners in Britain.
“It’s a great race to win and a great start – it kick-starts our confidence for the year,” 49-year-old said Fallon after winning his first Classic since landing the Epsom Oaks in 2004 on Alexandrova.
“I thought I was going to go and win easily but when I went up half a length, he stopped with me. He was still good enough to win. That was a serious performance,” added Fallon as he laid down a marker for the rest of the season.
Fallon, a six-time champion jockey between 1997 and 2003, has had a low-key career since returning from a world-wide ban from racing in 2009 after serving an 18-month suspension for failing a drug test.
In 2004 the now descredited News of the World made allegations of race fixing against Fallon. Two years later he was charged with conspiracy to defraud the Internet betting exchange Betfair and was banned from riding in Britain for the duration of his trial, but in 2007 he was judged to have no case to answer.
He has admitted that his days of winning the jockeys championship are over, but his ability to beat all-comers when it comes to Classic races is undiminished as he now gears up for a tilt at this year’s Epsom Derby. “The Derby is the one to win,” he said, “and I’ve always loved it,” he added.
And, by capturing the Guineas he has already been snapped up for a high profile rideon True Story in the blue riband of the flat game for Godolphin.
Fallon has won three Derbys in his glittering career, on Oath (1997), Kris Kin (2003) and North Light (2004) when he became the first jockey since Willie Carson in 1979-80 to score back-to-back wins.
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