Kieren Fallon hopes the Dubai racing season at Meydan can play a crucial role in his return to the pinnacle of the sport - but only if trainers are willing to give him a chance following an 18-month suspension for drug use. It would not be the first time the gifted rider has made a comeback in Dubai. It was at Nad al Sheba in December 2000 that Fallon rode his first winner following a career-threatening shoulder injury at Royal Ascot in June that year.
Further back, the 44-year-old claimed the Group One Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup night in 1999 with Mark Johnston's Fruits of Love and followed up in the same race a year later with Fantastic Light. Now, with the English season coming to an end, he views Dubai as being of great importance in rebuilding his reputation. "I would love to ride in Dubai if there is a chance for me there," the six-time champion jockey told The National. "Big things are happening with Meydan and I want the chance to be there. It will need someone to offer me a job.
"If there is an owner or trainer out there who would be willing to take me on, I am interested." If Fallon makes it to Dubai, his route is almost certain to take in the international races in Doha. "I'm likely to ride in the big race in Qatar on Christmas Day for Luca [Cumani] anyway," he said. "So it would make perfect sense to go to Dubai after that." Fallon, who found himself in an English parade ring for the first time in three years last Friday, has wasted no time in claiming winners, riding a pulsating treble for Cumani just three days later.
He hopes to follow up with more success aboard Mick Channon's Youmzain in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, a race he won twice. Fallon's road to redemption is likely to take him to Dubai, with its prize pots culminating in the US$10 million (Dh36.7m) Dubai World Cup. The Irishman is already heading in the right direction when it comes to securing top rides as he has a "gentlemen's agreement" with Cumani that the handler will use him when he is available.
On Monday, Fallon scored on Diam Queen, Sham Sheer and Ordoney at Folkestone, indicating he is back in his stride, with pundits predicting he can get 50 winners before the end of the year. firstname.lastname@example.org