from the Times Online

Gunslinger back to give it his best shot

On the eve of his comeback to racing, Kieren Fallon has his sights set on Ryan Moore’s champion jockey crown

David Walsh, Chief Sports Writer

“I ain’t like that no more, I ain’t the same, Ned. Just cause we’re going on this killin’, that don’t mean I’m gonna go back to being the way I was. Ned, you remember that drover I shot through the mouth, and his teeth came out the back of his head, I think about him now and again. He didn’t do anything to deserve to get shot, at least nothin’ I could remember when I sobered up” — William Munny (Clint Eastwood) speaking to Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) in Unforgiven

Keiron FallonA friend persistently asks why I bother with Kieren Fallon. Here is the answer; as clear as the summer light on this Tuesday evening at his apartment in Newmarket. We had played golf earlier in the afternoon and, only half-interested, he’d won 3&2. “Come back for something to eat,” he said, “Geraldine is cooking dinner.” He called his sister to warn her but it was too late; Geraldine had been expecting just him. “It’ll be all right,” he said. “Just divide what you have in two, there’ll be plenty.”

Dinner is wonderfully Irish: bacon, cabbage, a delicious white sauce and the flouriest potatoes. You mention the potatoes, and Geraldine lists the five best varieties, all by their names.

In the hallway, on the living room walls, everywhere there are photographic testimonials to his genius. Fallon on Russian Rhythm, Kris Kin, Ouija Board, Fallon on any number of Henry Cecil fillies, Fallon in the silks of Coolmore, on Hurricane Run, George Washington, Dylan Thomas.

“Have you read Jerry Bailey’s book?” he asks. It’s the autobiography of the great American rider. “I’ve only ever read two books in my life, and one of them was Jerry’s [the other was James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces]. I loved Jerry’s book, his story. He had problems, he sorted them out, he came back and enjoyed the best part of his career. Look at Garrett Gomez now, the best jockey riding in America today, and look what he’s come through.”

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