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Fallon delight at O'Brien call

Kieren Fallon is looking forward to renewing his association with Aidan O'Brien ahead of his ride on Viscount Nelson in the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas.

Fallon has been recruited by O'Brien to partner the Coolmore operation's alleged third string in the first Classic of the season at Newmarket on Saturday.

Ballydoyle also saddle red-hot favourite St Nicholas Abbey, the mount of Johnny Murtagh, and the Colm O'Donoghue-ridden Fencing Master.

Although Viscount Nelson's odds will be considerably longer, it will be a landmark occasion for Fallon, who has not partnered an O'Brien-trained runner since Dylan Thomas won the 2007 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

"It's exciting to be back riding for Coolmore and Aidan O'Brien," said the six-times champion jockey, who has won the 2000 Guineas four times in the last 10 years.

"It's a jockey's dream. They have the best horses in the world and are great people to ride for.

"I never thought about whether I'd ride for them again, all I think about is riding as many winners as I can.

"We all know what Aidan can do and, on the big day, he is the trainer everyone wants to ride for.

"Viscount Nelson is not just making up the numbers. He is by Giant's Causeway and out of (2001 Oaks winner) Imagine.

"He has a fantastic pedigree and was just beaten in the Group Two Champagne Stakes."

Connections of Canford Cliffs, meanwhile, admit their colt's ability to see out a mile is a major question mark ahead of Saturday's big race.

One of the most impressive Coventry Stakes winners in recent years, he lost his unbeaten record in the Prix Morny and was defeated by stablemate Dick Turpin in the Greenham Stakes on his reappearance.

Opinion is divided as to the depth of his stamina and Richard Hannon Jnr, assistant trainer to his father, is as much in the dark as punters.

"Canford Cliffs is fine but there's a dark horse there as well in Dick Turpin and he's going very well as well," said Hannon.

"Canford Cliffs worked on Sunday and he was very impressive.

"We worked him in behind a very good horse of Stan Moore's, Total Gallery, and he did everything right -- we were absolutely delighted.

"Whether he gets a mile or not I can't answer; we won't know until Saturday. We'll just have to grin and bear it.

"I think it's a big price that we'd see him in the July Cup. I know a three-year-old won it last year but it's a big ask.

"If he doesn't get a mile it's not the end of him, it's just the start of his other career."


Clive Cox's Xtension was narrowly touched off by the Aidan O'Brien-trained pair of Beethoven and Fencing Master in the Dewhurst, having earlier won the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood and finished second to Canford Cliffs in the Coventry.

"He's wintered well, he looks well and we are happy with his preparation," said Cox.

"You couldn't be disappointed with his Dewhurst run. He briefly hit the front and to be beaten in a three-way finish like that, a nose and a neck, I was delighted to be honest. We trained him last year with the idea that he would progress with a little bit of luck, and he always gave us that inclination.

"I'm pleased to say he wintered well and I'll be very disappointed if he doesn't give a very good account of himself.

"We are looking forward to seeing him over a mile. His style of racing is very laid-back and he is blessed with a good turn of foot," he said.