Racing UK

Kieren Fallon says there is “light at the end of the tunnel” after quitting saddle

Wednesday 4 January 2017

By staff

Kieren Fallon says he has come to terms with retiring from the saddle and has revealed being part of Saeed Bin Suroor’s team in Dubai this winter has given him a new lease of life.

Fallon, who is 52 next month, announced his retirement from the saddle last July, when it was revealed that the six-time British champion and 16-time Classic winner was undergoing treatment for depression.

Speaking publicly for the first time since he quit, Fallon told the Racing Post he had been in Dubai since November and was enjoying life again.

He also expressed his gratitude to Bin Suroor and William Haggas for giving him the chance to stay involved with horses.

"I'm getting on with it, trying to move on,” Fallon said. “You miss that rollercoaster when it stops, but things are going great. I wouldn't say I'm out of the woods yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"Things are great. I ride out most days for Saeed. They're lovely rides and nice horses. The carnival starts on Thursday and we're really looking forward to it.

"There's a real buzz in the yard. We're all excited. We have three runners and hopefully one of them will win.

"I've been out here since early November and I'm really enjoying it. I'm still going on with my treatment, but the main thing is I'm enjoying my work. I love riding in the mornings and golf in the afternoons.”

He added: "Saeed has always been very good to me. I've ridden a lot of nice winners for him and he was always easy to ride for. I'm here now and he was a great help to me when I needed him most. Winters in Newmarket aren't what I enjoy.

"I think Dubai is one of the best places in the world for anybody who needs help with any sort of addiction. When I had my bad fall at Royal Ascot [in 2000], I came out here to rehabilitate and get back fit. I was lucky enough to ride out for Kiaran McLaughlin, who gave me my first winner back, which was why this was my first choice.”

Fallon, who rode more than 2,200 winners during his career, has been able to access the help he needs in Dubai for his depression - an illness that had gone undiagnosed until last year.

With the benefit of hindsight, he wishes he had stopped riding sooner.

He said: “I couldn't really see further than the next day, whereas now I'm really looking forward to the carnival, looking forward to being back in Newmarket and riding out again. I'm just getting on.

"When you stop riding you think your whole world ends. Thinking of all the boys, I'm not very far behind Pat Eddery, Walter Swinburn, Mark Birch, Lindsay Charnock, people I was riding with, how quick they can go. You have to try to look after yourself.

"You're working every day, seven days a week from five in the morning until midnight, then it all stops. I was riding longer than I should have been. I should have retired years ago. But I knew if I did I'd struggle. That's why I kept going, kept trying to grasp on to something.

"It's the best decision I've ever made to do what I'm doing now. Willie Haggas too has been a big help to me. I really enjoyed myself when I was riding out there.

“They're a great yard to work with and have loads of winners. That was great help when I wasn't in a good place."


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