x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Six-time British champion jockey Kieren Fallon leads the rush to Dubai

The Irish jockey's ready for a big season in the UAE, starting with tomorrow's meeting at Meydan Racecourse where he is booked in five of the eight races.

Kieren Fallon, the six-time British champion jockey, racing at York last year.
Kieren Fallon, the six-time British champion jockey, racing at York last year.

ABU DHABI // Kieren Fallon, the six-time British champion jockey, wants to spend more of his winters in Dubai riding for Nasser Saeed al Romaithi, the Emirati owner, and trainers who have regular runners in the UAE.

Fallon has been a regular visitor to ride in Dubai but this year is the first time he has based himself in the Emirates for a full season.

"I have a retainer with Mr al Romaithi and as long as it continues, yes," said Fallon, 45, who has already ridden eight winners to rack up Dh1.2million in prize money.

"It is a nice place to be during the winter. The place is nice to live, the weather is great, the races are competitive and growing and the prize monies are good.

"I have been travelling to Hong Kong, Japan, the US, and to India before, to try and work out what works best for me during the winter.

"I think Dubai has now taken over. Dubai is where all the jockeys want to head for during the winter. It is my first full season in the Emirates and it has been a good one so far.

"I have already got a lot of bookings and hope more opportunities will come my way."

Fallon is booked on five of the eight races at Meydan Racecourse tomorrow, a full card in the six-race meeting at Jebel Ali on Friday, four in Abu Dhabi on Sunday and a return to Meydan to ride in three more races on Saturday.

Besides his retainer with al Romaithi, Fallon is also in demand to ride for several trainers.

He has already ridden a winner for Godolphin and three in the silks of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE.

Fallon has had to opt out of a ride on Sunday's President's Cup fancy Seraphin Du Paon, in the silks of Sheikh Khalifa, as he is on another runner.

Fallon was on-board the 2010 UAE Arabian Derby winner when he was beaten by a short head by Vite Royale in the President's Cup Prep.

And the veteran jockey believes the five-year-old son of Akbar is the one to beat in the Dh1 million race.

"He could have won that race had we not got locked up behind a wall of horses," he said.

"I didn't use the whip as it was his first race in more than 10 months. He should come from that run and will be the one to beat in this field."

Fallon will instead be riding al Romaithi's Rabah De Carrere trained by Gillian Duffield.

Marinous and Rajsaman, both trained by Freddie Head in France, and Force Freeze trained in Dubai by Doug Watson, are Fallon's hopefuls in the silks of al Romaithi on the Dubai World Cup night.

"Marinous and Rajsaman are genuine contenders," said Fallon, who also hopes to be engaged by Luca Cumani in the Carnival meetings at Meydan and back in the UK in the summer.

Marinous had a profitable time at Meydan last year, picking up a couple of place prizes in handicaps before scoring in Qatar.

From there, he went on to win the Grand Prix de Deauville and finished a creditable sixth behind Workforce in the Arc de Triomphe.

Rajsaman dead-heated for fourth place in the Hong Kong Mile and is aimed at the Godolphin Mile while Force Freeze, who runs at Meydan tomorrow, is al Romaithi's hope in the Golden Shaheen.

 

apassela@thenational.ae