Depression forces Kieren Fallon to quit race riding

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  • Six-time British champion Flat jockey Kieren Fallon has made the decision to retire from the saddle due to an ongoing battle with depression.

    Turf Club chief medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick — who spoke on behalf of the 51-year-old — confirmed to H&H that the jockey had decided to hang up his boots.

    Dr McGoldrick revealed he had been treating the jockey for depression and that Kieren has been receiving anti-depressants medication for four months.

    “Kieren has been battling depression for three years,” he told H&H. “He’s obviously shattered — for one of the greatest jockeys it feels like a loss of self-worth too, but it is good he is getting the right help.

    “I have great respect for him — he’s been manly enough to stand up and say ‘yes, I have a problem.’ In the short term, the focus is to get him better, then he’ll decide what he wants to do.”

    The Irishman’s successful career saw him tally 2,577 wins in the UK but it was also blighted with controversy.

    Having been embroiled in a two-month corruption trial in 2007 — he was later cleared of all charges — Kieren was given an 18-month global ban from racing in 2008 after testing positive for a banned substance.

    Since returning from America this spring, Kieren has been riding in Ireland and working with Curragh trainer Michael O’Callaghan.

    He has not ridden in public since his two rides at the Curragh on Irish Derby day (26 June). He missed rides at Fairyhouse following a bad fall on the gallops on 29 June.

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    His success in the saddle also included 161 wins in Ireland and 80 Group One victories. He claimed 30 Royal Ascot wins during his career and won the British champion Flat jockey title an impressive six times.

    He also racked up 22 British and Irish Classic winners. He has ridden successfully across the globe including America, Hong Kong, France and Australia. His wins in America include in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Islington in 2003 and Ouija Board in 2004.

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