RACING SIR MICHAEL STOUTE will not have a stable jockey next season after confirming the end of his partnership with Kieren Fallon.
But the trainer has confirmed that Clare native Fallon will continue to ride some horses from the stable next year, depending on the wishes of owners. The decision leaves the way open for other top jockeys like Johnny Murtagh to ride for the yard when required.
Fallon said on Tuesday that his role as stable jockey was coming to an end and the trainer confirmed the news yesterday.
"Not all of my owners wish to use Kieren Fallon but his association with the stable will continue with those that do. Kieren assures me that he is keen to do so," Stoute said.
Murtagh, who rides for John Oxx in Ireland, said that he hoped he would continue to enjoy riding for Stoute. "I'm very flattered to be associated with the job," he said. "But Sir Michael has not spoken to me and I haven't spoken to him about it."
Fallon was in action at Yarmouth yesterday and explained his philosophical attitude to the situation.
"Sir Michael and I have had a lot of success together over the past couple of years and it could have been even better if I hadn't missed most of last season through injury," he said.
"I read somewhere that we had had a row; that is news to me, I don't think there has been a cross word between us this year. I believe some owners want other jockeys to ride their horses and that is fair enough."
At home, meanwhile, top hurdler Youlneverwalkalone makes his debut over fences at Navan on Saturday in the Technical Demolition Services Chase, while another of Christy Roche's stars Bannow Bay is expected to go for the Grade 2 Philips Electronics Lismullen Hurdle.
The top-class programme also features the Grade 3 For Auctions Novice Hurdle and the Fortria Chase which is also a Grade 3 event.
"Youlneverwalkalone is likely to go to Navan on Saturday for the beginners chase and Bannow Bay may line up for the Lismullen Hurdle," said Roche. "Le Coudray was originally entered for Navan and Punchestown on Sunday but is more likely to wait for another week or two."
Youlneverwalkalone has always enjoyed a special place in Roche's heart and the gelding was among the very best novices in the 1999-2000 season and took third place behind Sausalito Bay and Best Mate in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Twelve months ago Bannow Bay suffered a shock defeat in the Lismullen Hurdle but went on to take the Grade 1 Ballymore Properties Champions Stayers Hurdle at Fairyhouse where he beat Catch Ball and Limestone Lad. The latter could again be in opposition and, of course, he has had the benefit of a recent run on the flat at Navan.
Last year's winner of the Fortria Chase, Native Upmanship, will make his return to action in this year's instalment following a long layoff.
Punchestown winner Zayta and Micko's Dream which ran recently at Gowran Park are expected to run here also, while Sackville opts out, preferring to go to Wetherby instead.
Frances Crowley confirmed yesterday that the eight-year-old will make the trip cross channel. The decision to run in the £50,000 Peterhouse Group Charlie Hall Chase further enhances what was shaping up to be a thrilling contest.
"He loves goodish or soft ground and there will be no excuses on Saturday," Miss Crowley said. "I will be very disappointed if he isn't in the first three."
Paul Nicholls will make a decision over running plans tomorrow. He has both Shotgun Willy and See More Business among the entries.