Fallon faces wait on Derby decision
Top jockey Kieren Fallon faces an anxious overnight wait to find out if he will be allowed to take part in the Epsom Derby.
Two Court of Appeal judges are to give a decision on Saturday morning on whether Fallon should be barred from the race, which starts at 4pm. Lord Justice Jackson and Lord Justice Elias have been asked to overturn a decision made by a High Court judge earlier on Friday.
Mr Justice MacDuff, sitting in London, refused to grant an injunction preventing the three-time Derby winner from riding in the classic event. He had been urged to make the order by Ibrahim Araci, the owner of Native Khan, to prevent Fallon riding a horse, Recital, in competition.
Mr Araci brought his action over claims that Fallon had broken a "promise" to ride Native Khan. He argued that, under the terms of a retainer agreement, he should not be allowed to ride any other horse in the race.
Mr Justice MacDuff said he was not prepared to grant the injunction - but gave Mr Araci the go-ahead to appeal against his decision. Further argument was made on Friday afternoon before the two appeal judges.
Lord Justice Jackson announced the appeal court's decision needed "overnight reflection because of the importance of the issues" and that the ruling would be given at 9am on Saturday.
Fallon, who denied breach of contract and said there had been an "innocent misunderstanding", was not present for the hearings.
Mr Justice MacDuff said he was satisfied "the true facts are that the defendant (Fallon) believed he could ignore this binding contract". In his judgment, the jockey had acted with "deliberate selfishness". But, in exercising his discretion on whether to grant an injunction, there were a number of factors to be put into the scale, including the public interest.
He said he had "every sympathy" with Mr Araci, "who has been badly let down". He added that his sympathy was "tempered to some significant extent by the good news that he has been able to engage a replacement jockey who is also a champion at the top of his profession".
Preventing Fallon from riding in "a premier classic race" would be "severe punishment indeed". Although an injunction would cover "one short day", it would involve "a restraint of trade and a prohibition on a major sportsman from carrying on his occupation".