Kieren Fallon will be able to ride Yeats in the Emirates Melbourne Cup on Tuesday week despite picking up a 10-day ban for a riding offence at Moonee Valley.
Fallon, who is keen to gain experience of Australian racing ahead of his big-race ride, partnered the Lee Freedman-trained California Dane to success in the Group Two Schweppes Stakes.
California Dane was a cosy winner under Fallon but despite a clear victory, the rider was hauled before the panel of stewards – headed by chairman Des Gleeson – for causing interference to leading hope Red Oog just after the start.
The stewards believed Fallon’s mount had cut across too quickly from the outside towards the rail, causing Red Oog to lose all chance.
During the inquiry, Gleeson asked Fallon if he wished to make a plea, and the rider admitted he was guilty, immediately creating the possibility that he would be ruled out of the Cup.
However, after also stating his recent record with stewards around the world was “unbelievable” and also claiming he had only had “just one two-day-ban in the last three or four months”, the stewards suspended Fallon for 10 days.
The ban will be lifted at midnight on November 6, the eve of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
Fallon said: “I am very relieved. The race was at 1.30pm and the inquiry finished just before 7pm so it was a long wait.
“In Ireland I would probably have just been cautioned, but the rules are very strict here and I did come across. I am just relieved that I am not having to call Aidan O’Brien to tell him he needs a new jockey for Yeats. The horse has been working very well of late and I can’t wait to ride him.”
Fallon’s success aboard California Dane was his second Australian victory after riding a winner at Wyong when apprenticed in New South Wales more than 20 years ago.
The rider was out of luck in the feature Tattersall’s Cox Plate later on the card though, as his mount Aqua D’Amore could finish only fourth behind veteran performer Fields Of Omagh.
The nine-year-old was running in the 10-furlong contest for the fifth successive year, having won the race in 2003 as well as finishing fifth at his first attempt in 2002, second in 2004 and third last year.
Fields Of Omagh, who will now be retired, just held on for a narrow victory over El Segundo in a photo with Pompeii Ruler a close-up third.
The David Hayes-trained gelding is the oldest winner of Australasia’s weight-for-age championship and the 11th multiple Cox Plate winner, joining the likes of Phar Lap, Sunline, Northerly and Tranquil Star.
“He is the only horse that I’ve trained that my brother (the late Peter Hayes) trained,” Hayes told www.racingvictoria.net.au.
“He got there and it’s just fantastic. What a great way to go out for the old boy. When he went out on the track and they (the crowd) acknowledged him it brought a bit of a tear to my eye. It was a very emotional win.”
Winning jockey Craig Williams added: “He just thrived on today’s atmosphere and today and he just lifted for me.”
Zipping secured his place in the Melbourne Cup field with a win in the Cathay Pacific Airways Cup.
Graeme Rogerson’s charge is now number 22 in the elimination order for the two-mile feature on November 7 following his success over Show Barry.