Fallon 'dismayed' after drugs ban

Kieren Fallon has been left “dismayed” after he was hit with a six-month suspension by French racing authority France Galop.

Kieren Fallon has been left “dismayed” after he was hit with a six-month suspension by French racing authority France Galop.

The 41-year-old Irishman tested positive for a metabolite of a prohibited substance and will be banned from December 7.

And as the Irish Turf Club have an agreement with other racing jurisdictions to reciprocate bans of this nature, Fallon also appears set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines here.

In a statement, Fallon’s solicitor Christopher Stewart-Moore said: “Over the course of his long riding career, Kieren Fallon has been tested by authorities all over the world and the results have always been negative.

“In this case, only trace levels were detected and these are considerably lower than generally accepted thresholds for positive results.

“Kieren is dismayed at this turn of events but understands that as it is a strict liability offence, France Galop has no alternative but to impose a suspension.”

The news stems from a sample given by the jockey after he rode Ivan Denisovich in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly on July 9.

Henri Pouret of France Galop said: “Kieren Fallon has been notified that he has a suspension of six months after he tested positive for a prohibited substance. He has the right to appeal but both A and B samples tested positive. The test was taken after the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.”

According to the statement released by Stewart-Moore, the quantity of metabolite found was described as “exceedingly low” by witness Dr Michael Lewis, “… as to admit that the possibility that the test result arose solely as a consequence of environmental contact”.

Fallon, who is set to miss the first part of the Classic season in France and Ireland, is currently banned from riding in Britain as he has been charged with conspiracy to defraud Betfair customers.

However, the British Horseracing Regulatory Authority have not asked other racing jurisdictions to follow suit.

As a result, Fallon was able to partner Yeats in the Melbourne Cup but was barred from competing in the Arlington Million in America and subsequently dropped attempts to ride at the Breeders’ Cup meeting.

On Monday, Fallon also failed in his bid to be granted a licence to ride at the Hong Kong International meeting at Sha Tin on December 10.

Fallon currently holds the position of stable jockey to the powerful Coolmore operation based at Ballydoyle in Ireland, where he is unlikely to ride during his suspension.

“We were informed by France Galop that Kieren had tested positive for a prohibited substance,” said Denis Egan, chief executive of the Irish Turf Club.

“The stewards need to meet first but I would imagine he will be banned from riding in Ireland as well. The international jurisdictions sign up to an agreement that if something as straightforward as this happens, we follow their decision.

“As both ourselves and France Galop are signed up to the agreement it seems likely he will be banned from riding in Ireland.”

A spokesperson for Coolmore added: “John Magnier, Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Aidan O’Brien have learned of Kieren Fallon’s suspension by France Galop.

“During that period, they will continue to use the best jockey available to them.”

Fallon has until midnight on Friday to appeal against the suspension.

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