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Racing: Fantastic Fallon

Jimmy Walker reports from Leopardstown

Published 10/09/2006

What can you say about c?

What can you say about Kieren Fallon?

The great jockey, who has had his career virtually put on hold by problems with the authorities in England, produced one of his epic finishes at Leopardstown yesterday when winning the Irish Champion Stakes on Dylan Thomas.

Fallon and Dylan Thomas looked beaten in the closing stages when Oija Board loomed up and took the lead. It seemed as though the great mare would do it once again, but Fallon had other ideas. He kept coaxing Dylan Thomas and in what was one of the greatest finishes ever to this race, Dylan Thomas just got up to win by a neck from Oija Board with third place going to Alexander Goldrun.

Fallon returned to the winners' enclosure to whoops of Irish delight, indicative of the high esteem in which he is held in the country. Even trainer Aiden O'Brien, who was winning the race for the fourth time, was almost lost for words.

"What can you say about him? He just gets better and better," said O'Brien.

"Looking at Dylan's body language, I knew he had something in hand. The horse found an extra gear and Fallon did the rest. In fact, I don't believe he even used his whip. He's a class act."

Dylan Thomas' stable mate, Ace, had been the early leader and pace maker, but in the closing stages the race developed into a pitched battle between Dylan Thomas and Oija Board. Dylan Thomas showed that his Irish Derby win was no fluke and that his York defeat was all wrong.

O'Brien said: "He went to York very fresh and the ground was against him. He loves the going fast.

"As for the future, he will run in the Breeders Cup in America. Either the Turf or the Dirt will be his target. Personally, I would like to win the Breeders Cup Classic in which Giants Causeway was so narrowly beaten in 2000."

O'Brien will have to go to Kentucky without Fallon for the jockey cannot ride in America beause of his problems in England. "It's a pity," said O'Brien. "But what can you do?"

Earlier in the day, there was an Ulster success when King Of Tory, owned by Newry businessman Richie Behan, scored for trainer Edward Lynam in the September Handicap.

"I'm delighted to have won at Leopardstown," said Behan. "I have been with trainer Lynam for over 10 years and he has always brought me plenty of luck and winners!"

The Matron Stakes for Fillies, Group One Race, also went to Aiden O'Brien when Frost Giant just got up in a desperately close finish to win by a head from Cougar Bay.

Once again, the winner was ridden by Kieran Fallon.

"He's not a bad jockey, is he?" said O'Brien, tongue in cheek after what was undoubtedly Fallon's day.

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