Top trainer Sir Michael Stoute will only use Kieren Fallon when owners request him during the 2002 season

Sir Michael Stoute will not employ a retained jockey in 2002 and will only useKieren Fallon, his current number one rider, when his owners request him.

The top trainer issued a statement yesterday (31 October) following recent speculation that he was going to split with Fallon.

Stoute said: “My stable will not be retaining a jockey for 2002. Not all my owners wish to use Kieren Fallon, but his association with the stable will continue with those that do want him on their horses. Kieren assures me that he is keen to do so.”

Irish jockey Johnny Murtagh, who linked up successfully with Stoute when Fallon was sidelined through injury last year, has been suggested as a replacement.

But he said: “I am very flattered to be associated with the Stoute job. But Sir Michael hasn’t spoken to me and I haven’t spokento him.

“He has always said he will use the best jockeys available and I hope I fall into that category. I hope to continue to ride for him.”

The Cheveley Park Stud, long-standing owners with Stoute, have said they will continue to use Fallon. “Our policy has always been to use the best jockey available and we have used Kieren with great success,” said Chris Richardson, managing director of the stud.