Kieren Fallon has accepted an invitation to take part in next month’s international jockeys match at Turffontein and Fairview and he will captain the visitors, writes Michael Clower.
Fallon, 50, was a big draw when he last rode here five years ago and he has a tremendous record behind him, having ridden as stable jockey to Henry Cecil, Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien. Six times champion jockey in Britain, his big race triumphs include the Epsom Derby three times and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe twice.
He is also no stranger to controversy. He has twice had lengthy bans for testing positive in France and in 2007 he went on trial at the Old Bailey in London on charges of race-fixing but the judge ruled that he had no case to answer.
He spent four months of this year riding in America because he felt that he was not riding as well as he should in Britain and said that the change would do him good.
Racing Association boss Larry Wainstein, the driving force behind the jockeys match, said yesterday: “It was great to get him to come to South Africa again and it’s going to make it all very interesting while Hayley Turner is on record is saying that her South African rides will be the last of her career.”
Pat Cosgrave, who has ridden here before, will also be in the team as will fellow Irishman Robert Havlin. It will be his first time in South Africa as it will for Panamanian Eduardo Pedroza and Frenchman Aurelien Lemaitre who replaces much better known compatriot Christophe Lemaire.
Former champions Piere Strydom and Anton Marcus are the two wild cards in the South African team, otherwise decided by the first four in last season’s national log – Gavin Lerena (captain), S’Manga Khumalo, Greg Cheyne and Anthony Delpech.
The home team leads the series five-two since its reinstatement in 2008. The Fairview leg is on November 13 and the match finishes at Turffontein the following day.
Ed – In our brand new ‘Short Heads’ insert in this weekend edition of SP (# 2191) we reported as follows:
A Fallon Angel? Following a stint in the USA, Kieren Fallon resumed riding in Britain, but failed to arrive at Tipperary last Sunday – and then missed his only ride at Catterick on Tuesday.His absence in Ireland proved costly – his mount won the Gr3 race in the boardroom – and the veteran has two fines to pay.