Kieren Fallon looks almost certain to continue his comeback in Dubai after trainer Luca Cumani confirmed he will be saddling horses in the Emirates this winter. Cumani, a Classics and multiple Group One-winning trainer, says he will bring eight to 10 horses for the Dubai International Racing Carnival at Meydan.
Fallon is race-riding again in the UK following a three-year absence after an 18-month ban for drug use compounded an earlier suspension. He has an agreement with Cumani that he will make riding the trainer's horses his priority. The 44-year-old jockey is no stranger to success in the UAE after landing a Dubai Sheema Classic-double on the Mark Johnston-trained Fruits of Love in 1999 and Fantastic Light, trained at the time by Sir Michael Stoute, in 2000.
He has been welcomed back into racing by fans in the UK and scored his first wins just three days into his comeback with a treble for Cumani at Folkestone. "I'm hoping that when the programme is finalised I will have eight or 10 horses suitable for the Carnival in Dubai," said Cumani. "I cannot say for sure that Kieren will be riding them, but he is an excellent jockey and has been riding our horses in the UK."
The jockey himself has already said he hopes to continue his comeback at Meydan which is more lucrative than ever this year. "Luca has some great horses and I would love to ride them in Dubai," said Fallon. Cumani, like his jockey, has also enjoyed success in the UAE. Last season Cumani's Presvis, second to Gladiatorus in the Dubai Duty Free on World Cup night, was one of the stars of the UAE winter season, winning two handicaps by more than three lengths, all under the champion jockey Ryan Moore.
After a winter spent in Dubai, Presvis went on to score in Group One company in the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup in Hong Kong, before coming second by a nose in the Group One Singapore International Airlines Cup to French runner, Gloria de Campeao. Unraced since then, Presvis is likely to contest international races in Hong Kong in December before heading back to Dubai. "Presvis had an excellent season and he would certainly be one of the ones we are looking to bring back," said Cumani.
Martin Talty, the international manager at Dubai Racing Club, said he would welcome the return of both Fallon and Cumani. Fallon, who has had a troubled career despite his undeniable talent, is a jockey who will always make headlines, according to Talty. He is of the opinion, like many within racing, that Fallon realises he is on his last chance and that he will not fall into the same traps as he once did.
"Like any sport racing has its heroes and villains and Kieren Fallon has been a bit of both in his time," Talty said. "But he's back now and doing well and seems to have put his demons behind him. "Kieren speaks for himself, he is one of the sport's biggest names despite being absent for so long and at the end of the day he is a fantastic jockey and it will be great to see him ride at the Carnival."
Cumani will also be welcomed back to Dubai. "Luca is a well-respected trainer world-wide and the fact that he is bringing an extended team to Dubai says a lot about the strength of the Carnival," said Talty. "Everyone knew Presvis was good but we didn't realise how good, but Luca knew all along." firstname.lastname@example.org