Guest post written by Elliot Slater
Former British champion jockey Keiren Fallon has made clear his intention to do everything he can in the year ahead to regain the title he last won in 2003.
Fallon has never been far from the headlines over the years – and not always for the right reasons – but having returned to the fray in September 2009 after an absence of over two years following positive drug tests and an investigation into race fixing, he has been firing in the winners just as he did for so many years when champion six times between 1997-2003.
Those looking at horse racing tips regularly note that Fallon famously had a spell at Ballydoyle and rode numerous big winners for Aidan O’Brien including Dylan Thomas, Oratorio, George Washington and Yeats, but now riding freelance he believes he can mix it with the best of the current crop and give reigning champion Paul Hanagan, former title holder Ryan Moore, Richard Hughes, and the rest, something to think about.
Currently in Dubai where he has been riding at the Carnival, Fallon told reporters that he believes his experience in knowing how to pace himself for a title battle, and the return of his appetite for being champion again, means that he will be more focused than ever on winning back the title at age 47. He suggested that riding arrangements he has in place for this year with Luca Cumani and Mark Johnston mean that he should have the firepower to compete on term with the other top riders.
Bookmakers reacted to the news that Fallon is serious about going for the jockeys’ title by trimming his Irish racing odds to 7/2, reigning champion Paul Hanagan can backed at as big as 5/1 (with Stan James), whilst former champ Ryan Moore remains favourite across the board at even money.
A broadcast journalist specialising in horse racing for more than two decades, Elliot Slater remains a keen student of the form book and of handicapping. A successful tipster, he combines his knowledge of the on and off-course betting markets with an in-depth appreciation of pedigrees and bloodlines, factors that contribute to his all round understanding of the racing industry.