Fallon Given 21 Days for Controversial Ride
Kieren Fallon, Britain's champion jockey last year, was banned for 21 days Monday by the British Jockey Club following his short-head defeat on maiden Ballinger Ridge at Lingfield Park in Surrey March 2.However, the club's investigation into unusual betting on the race continues, as does its examination of a five-page expose of Fallon by the Sunday tabloid, News Of The World, which alleged, among other things, that the jockey told undercover reporters beforehand that the winner Rye would defeat his mount.Fallon was well clear on 15/8 chance Ballinger Ridge in the mile maiden when he began taking things easily. He only started asking his mount for an effort again as he realized that Rye, the 8/11 favorite, was closing but got beaten on the line.Fallon has strenuously denied he deliberately set out to get Ballinger Ridge beaten, saying he made a mistake. The News of World sting operation was described by the newspaper as revealing "the sports scandal of the decade" but presented little concrete evidence.The jockey arrived back Monday from Spain where he had been due to ride on Sunday but did not take up his commitments - he barged past reporters at Stansted airport and made no comment.The Lingfield Park stewards referred the matter to the Jockey Club headquarters after Betfair, a betting exchange, reported to the club before the race that there had been a number of individuals laying Ballinger Ridge to lose to large amounts - turnover on the race reached £1.5 million.Racegoers at Lingfield Park on the day heaped insults on Fallon and the ban imposed today was the maximum that can be given for easing down prematurely and getting beaten. Jockey Club public relations director John Maxse said: "What has happened this afternoon is that the disciplinary panel met to consider whether his riding offense from last week can be considered on its own, and whether it was possible to impose a penalty which would not in any way prejudice any forthcoming investigation or inquiry."Having consulted with Kieren Fallon's solicitors and also taken legal advice of our own, it was decided that a 21-day penalty could be imposed for his failure to ride out for first place at Lingfield last week."The dossier on the newspaper allegations revealed over the weekend will be delivered to the Jockey Club on Tuesday evening. We will study it and continue with that investigation, which will include interviews with Kieren Fallon and, if necessary, other riders as well."Fallon's lawyer Christopher Stewart-Moore said: "We have made formal admission of a breach and it is called non-willful breach of rule 156, which I think is not riding a horse out to the finish line. I have given him my advice; he has taken my advice and he is agreeing to 21 days' suspension."He is ready to deal with the Jockey Club inquiry. As I understand it, the Jockey Club are going to receive the transcripts from the News Of The World by the end of tomorrow. They will then be passed on to me, hopefully, so we can consider them and then Kieren can be interviewed by the Jockey Club. Kieren has to cooperate and he will cooperate."Fallon's case has been front-page news in British newspapers and a lead item on television and radio news.Ballinger Ridge runs again at Lingfield tomorrow.
by Mark Popham
Date Posted: 3/8/2004 3:43:20 PM
Last Updated: 3/9/2004 1:16:10 PM
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