Kieren Fallon moves to Ballydoyle

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After spending six years at Sir Michael Stoute’s Newmarket stable, Kieren Fallon became Ballydoyle’s new retained jockey last week.

The Irish champion joined Aidan O’Brien’s stable on Friday after meeting owners John Magnier and Michael Tabor in Barbados earlier in the month. Magnier, Tabor and Derrick Smith said last week that they were “delighted” to have Fallon on board at Ballydoyle.

News that Fallon had stayed at Magnier’s Sandy Lane hotel in Barbados broke on Thursday, fuelling speculation that the Irish jockey was about to join Aidan O’Brien’s stables and sparking a sharp increase in bettings on Betfair, where a single punter laid just under £300,000 on Fallon getting the Ballydoyle job.

This ensured Stoute saw the news coming, but it didn’t make it any easier for Fallon to tell him he was leaving. “The hardest part was ringing Stoutey. He knew what was coming and told me he would have appreciated knowing far sooner. But overall he was really good about it,” Fallon told The Sunday Times.

“He said we’d been a great team, which is true, and a very lucky team, which is also true. He wished me the best for the future.”

Fallon, who was Britain’s champion jockey six times in the last eight years, has had a hugely successful six years with Stoute, winning, among others, the last two Derbys with Kris Kin and North Light.

Although he has a police bail to answer in April, he intends to replicate the feat with Ballydoyle and will move back to Ireland with his family “to do the job at Ballydoyle as well as I want to do it,” which, he told the Sunday Times, “means being around the place a lot and knowing the horses intimately.”

Johnny Murtagh, who was rumoured to be a contender for the Ballydoyle job, and Ryan Moore are now the strongest favourites to replace Fallon with Stoute.

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk