Kieren Fallon’s situation has gone from bad to worse this week. First his application to race in Hong Kong was refused, then he was handed down a six-month ban from riding in France after testing positive for a prohibited substance earlier this year.
Despite rumours that the six-month ban could be the final nail in the confin for his racing career, Fallon’s legal team have stated that he will be back.
On Monday (27 November) Fallon was denied a license from the Hong Kong racing authorities to ride the Aiden O’Brien-trained Scorpion in the prestigious Hong Kong Vase. Seamus Heffernan has since been named as Fallon’s replacement.
Then on Wednesday France Galop announced that Fallon had tested positive for a prohibited substance in a sample collected on 9 July. The governing body of horseracing in France banned him from riding under its rules for six months, starting 7 December. The substance is understood to be a extremely small amount of Benzoylecgonine, which is the principal metabolite of cocaine.
Forest Gunner retires
Aintree specialist Forest Gunner, fifth in the 2005 Grand National, has retired from racing at the age of 12.
Despite standing only 16hh, the popular chestnut — who starred in H&H’s first Lucinda Green rides column (6 April) — relished the mighty National fences and it was at the Liverpool course that he ran his final race in the Becher Chase.
Trainer Richard Ford told H&H: “At his age, we were just taking it one race at a time, and after the Becher we decided the time was right to call it a day. He deserves a long and happy retirement, although I think he’s going to take some entertaining. He likes being a busy wee lad!”
Best remembered for winning the 2004 Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree with the trainer’s wife, Carrie — who had given birth just 10 weeks earlier — on board, the son of Gunner B never fell in a 25-race career.
Mr Ford added: “We’ve all had the most fantastic journey with him.”
Tattersalls gross 100 million guineas
Tattersalls is celebrating after its most successful December Sales ever. The December Sales turnover was up 36% at 100,630,900 guineas and included a world record price for a broodmare, a European record price for a filly in training and seven seven-figure transactions. Con Wilson’s Magical Romance became the most expensive broodmare ever sold at 4,600,000 guineas, while Group 1 winner Spinning Queen is the most expensive filly in training in Europe at 3,000,000 guineas.
Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony said: “What a great way to round off a marvellous year. We knew that we had a special catalogue for the Mares’ Sale and the foal sale last week was spectacular, but we could never have predicted the extraordinary level of trade this week. The Tattersalls December Sales record books have been completely rewritten over the last four days.”