Fallon considering retirement within a year
Thursday 11 October 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
Kieren Fallon gave the greatest indication yet that he is on the verge of retirement to take up as a trainer.
The 47-year-old jockey has ridden 85 winners this season but his current strike-rate of 14 per cent in Britain is the lowest figure since 1995.
Although the triple Derby-winning rider has accumulated three Group One victories this year, his success aboard Most Improved in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot was his first victory at the highest level in Britain since he won the Gold Cup on Yeats in 2006. His other Group One wins in 2012 were on Krypton Factor, when the pair won the Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan, and Society Rock in the Haydock Sprint Cup.
“I feel great, and I am as fit as ever and I enjoy it,” Fallon said. “I’m not getting the same rides as I used to get and that gets me a bit down. If it continues to go downhill I wouldn’t stay on,” he said.
“I’ve had a great career and I have enjoyed my riding and I wouldn’t like to go out without riding in the big races.”
Fallon cited that it could be as little as a year before he quit and despite previously ruling out taking to the training ranks he suggested it was now an option.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do when I retire,” he added, having been drafted in as a late replacement for Frankie Dettori at the Leaders In Racing conference. “I would like to train but I know it is hard. I know you have to build your way up, starting with people’s cast-offs or rejects and try to rejuvenate them.
“I have been doing it a long time, and as long as you are fit and free of injury you are always going to do it. If I wasn’t to train I wouldn’t just sit on the ground and lie in I would ride out and still be involved that way.”
Fallon is to ride in Turkey this weekend in the hunt for a decent purse, and he underlined falling prize-money as one of the main reasons behind his thinking.
"I’m riding in Turkey this weekend for a local race, which is worth something like £300,000, which is more than our Guineas.
“I like Hong Kong, I like Dubai, but British racing is the best in the world. But racing is going to go further and further downhill. The small owners that racing was built on have all gone and it is only going to go further downhill.
“I can’t understand when owners scrabble round for £1700 when it probably costs that to get there. We ride now often for the jockey fees, to keep fit and for the love of the game, it is why we are racing for such pathetic prize-money.”