Fallon rueing 10-day ban as Native shows Guineas class
As a man who thrives on momentum, Kieren Fallon has been transparently impatient with a fitful start to his season.
The Clare native has already changed his agent, and it was easy to perceive how vexed he felt even after his first headline success of the campaign at Newmarket yesterday.
For while Native Khan did more than enough to warrant a crack at the 2,000 Guineas, back here a fortnight tomorrow, Fallon is likely to end up a spectator of the first Classic.
As things stand, Fallon will be serving a 10-day suspension after failing to ride out to the line when collared for second in a race at Kempton on Wednesday night.
The offence was marginal. Strictly speaking, Fallon ceased pushing in the final couple of strides, but he might well have lost second regardless. Fallon will duly appeal, but didn't sound terribly optimistic after Native Khan twisted the knife in the Craven Stakes.
"I won't be holding my breath," he admitted. "It's unfortunate, in a race at Kempton worth 1,700 quid, when I was doing my best and thought I'd ridden to the line. I think the second would have caught me anyway. Still, there's no shortage of good jockeys around to ride a horse like this."
In a market dominated by Frankel, there would sooner seem a shortage of decent mounts for those jockeys. Even so, it was precisely because he would also be available in the Guineas that Native Khan's owners had asked Ed Dunlop to book Fallon here.
The grey's only defeat, in four career starts, came when fourth in the Racing Post Trophy last autumn. "And I blame myself for that," Dunlop said. "We dropped him out on slow ground, and we should have come here and taken on Frankel in the Dewhurst. The ground is very important to him, as a beautiful mover, and he won't be going anywhere with a hint of soft."
"Kieren said he would improve a lot. It was an afterthought to come here, because with the spring being so dry he'd been able to do plenty of work, but I'm very pleased we did."
It was two lengths back to Libranno, which just held the promising Yaseer. As always, this meeting has quickened anticipation for the months ahead.
This time round, the excitement can be shared by Godolphin, who have seldom landed running in recent springs. Midsummer Fair was another striking winner for Mahmood Al Zarooni yesterday, again drawing attention to the blossoming talent of French jockey Mickael Barzalona.
There was interest in the presence of the mercurial Frenchman Andre Fabre to saddle Polytechnicien in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes, a race he won in 2007 with Manduro, but the 7/2 chance could never get on terms with the Barry Hills-trained Ransom Note, which led from start to finish.
Richard Hannon saddled a one-two in an unexpected order in the £250,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Trophy as Jamie Spencer swooped late aboard 25/1 chance Auld Burns to deny stablemate Measuring Time. (© Independent News Service)