Saturday 21 April 2018

Frankie Dettori salutes 'ferocious competitor' in Kieren Fallon

Jockey Kieren Fallon. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Jockey Kieren Fallon. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Frankie Dettori described Kieren Fallon as a "ferocious competitor" after the six-times champion jockey announced his retirement on Monday.

Fifty-one-year-old Fallon and Dettori developed an enduring rivalry which for many years saw the two star riders battle it out in the top races in Europe.

Dettori told Press Association Sport: "I have known and ridden alongside Kieren for the past 30 years.

"He has always been at the top of my list as the most ferocious competitor and, over the years, we have gained great respect for each other as riders.

"It's sad to see Kieren finish his career as a jockey and I wish him all the best in the future."

Fallon replaced Jamie Spencer as Aidan O'Brien's stable jockey in 2005 and many great races came their way, including the 2007 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with Dylan Thomas and a host of Classics.

O'Brien said: "Kieren was an exceptional jockey and we had a lot of great days together.

"We would all like to wish him the very best for the future."

Andre Fabre was taken aback by the news, but will never forget Fallon winning the Arc and Irish Derby for him in 2005 on Hurricane Run.

"He won for me an Arc that was not impossible to win, but it was thanks to him," said the master French trainer.

"I liked the way he used the horses and I liked the person as well. He's a character and a nice man. I hope he's going to be OK.

"Riding has been his life. He was top class."

Former jockey Bruce Raymond, racing manager for several top Middle Eastern owners, revealed he suggested Fallon should return to Newmarket when he chatted with him at the Derby meeting at Epsom last month.

Fallon rode Across The Stars, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and owned by Saeed Suhail - the same connections that were successful with Kris Kin in the Derby in 2003.

Though Across The Stars was well beaten in the premier Classic, Fallon was praised for looking after the horse when his chance had gone.

What he did was vindicated when Across The Stars won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot under Dettori.

"It's a shame he's had to finish in those circumstances. He's a good man. I know he's got problems, but I liked him as a guy," said Raymond.

"He's been a great jockey and rode lots of winners for us - a Derby and a Guineas winner. It's a pity and I hope he soon feels better. I wish him well

"Kieren rode Kris Kin work before the Derby and he said it would win. He was right.

"He was nicknamed the 'kingslayer' after he won the 2000 Guineas (in 2014) on Night Of Thunder, beating Kingman.

"We didn't think he'd win, but thought he might get placed as we thought Kingman was unbeatable.

"I saw him at Epsom when he rode Across The Stars for us in the Derby this year and I told him to come back here where everyone knows him.

"He looked after Across The Stars that day and we were lucky we had him on.

"Sir Michael recognises those things and was very grateful Kieren rode him and gave him an easy time when he had no chance in the Derby."

Twenty-times champion jump jockey Sir Anthony McCoy tweeted: "Best wishes to @KFallonJockey in his retirement, one of the most naturally talented/gifted jockeys I've ever seen."

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