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Fallon set to go Native for Derby


Kieren Fallon. Photo: Getty Images

Kieren Fallon. Photo: Getty Images

Kieren Fallon. Photo: Getty Images

Kieren Fallon's mount in the Epsom Derby tomorrow week remains unconfirmed despite the Clare native partnering 12/1 shot Native Khan in a piece of light exercise at the course yesterday morning.

Following the public gallop, Native Khan's trainer Ed Dunlop was asked if Fallon had made a firm commitment to ride his colt, which finished third to Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas. "As firm as Mr Fallon ever makes any commitment," Dunlop responded.

Three-time Derby winner Fallon has been conspicuously tight-lipped on the matter but, given Dunlop's slightly ambiguous statement, it appears the former champion jockey is yet to rule out the possibility of partnering Recital for Aidan O'Brien.

The Ballydoyle handler has stated that, of his eight Derby entries, Saturday's Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Roderic O'Connor, Recital, Seville, Memphis Tennessee and Treasure Beach are the ones that he will choose from. Recital, the shortest of the quintet in the betting at 7/1, was ridden by Fallon when landing the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at the start of the month.

"Obviously the plan at Leopardstown with Kieren sitting on him was he might be available for us in the Derby," O'Brien said. "I think probably early next week we'll get down to jockey arrangements, but the first thing we need to do is get the runners sorted. They are five strong options at the moment."

One that won't be running in the Derby is Dunboyne Express. Kevin Prendergast's charge disappointed when beaten into fifth place behind Roderic O'Connor on Saturday, and the handler suggested yesterday that he would not make any further plans for the son of Shamardal until the ground eases.

Meanwhile, O'Brien revealed that Sunday's 1,000 Guineas heroine Misty For Me, along with his Cheshire Oaks winner Wonder Of Wonders, could run in the Epsom Oaks, for which they are respectively available at prices of 8/1 and 9/2. Jessica Harrington is also targeting her Navan winner Siren's Song at the fillies' showpiece on this day week.

The same day, O'Brien's rejuvenated St Nicholas Abbey will attempt to follow up his facile success in Chester's Ormonde Stakes in the Group One Coronation Cup.

Irish Independent