Fallon back to what he does best

 

Racing: Alexandrova gave Kieren Fallon a timely boost when pulling off a famous Classic double in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh today.

The Epsom heroine became the 11th filly to supplement victory in the Vodafone Oaks with success in the Irish equivalent and in doing so provided Aidan O'Brien with his first win in the mile-and-a-half showpiece.

And the brilliant performance, in which Alexandrova dismissed Scottish Stage and Rising Cross by four lengths and a length respectively, provided a very different stage for Fallon.

Having had his name in the headlines for the last two weeks in connection with a City Of London Police investigation into alleged race-fixing, the six-times champion was back in the news for the right reasons.

Fallon, who also guided Epsom winner Ouija Board to victory in the Irish Oaks two years ago as well as Ramruma in 1999, displayed ultimate confidence on the 8-15 favourite following her thumping six-length win last month.

Settled stone last until the final three furlongs, Alexandrova picked her rivals off one by one down the straight to lead passing the furlong pole and stride out for a imperious win.

Sir Michael Stoute's Scottish Stage (13-2) had hit the front turning for home but the strapping filly could not match the winner's turn of foot and had to settle for second, ahead of Epsom runner-up Rising Cross (20-1).

O'Brien said: "She has an electric turn of speed that I have never seen from a filly and she has an amazing '0-60'. You don't mind if they go fast or slow as her change of speed is so rapid. She is really special.

"Kieren was very confident and he said if they were going to walk he was going to crawl and if they were going to crawl he was going to stand. He was just going to follow them round and he gave her an unbelievably cool ride.

"Looking at her you might think she would prefer an ease but she is just so good and cruises. We will stick to the fillies at the moment and probably go for the Yorkshire Oaks and see about taking on the colts after that.

"She wouldn't mind dropping back to 10 furlongs and the Irish Champion Stakes

could be an option."

O'Brien has spoken passionately about his stable jockey in recent days, and continued: "I have to say well done to everyone at home who makes this possible and this was brilliant for Kieren.

"It helps to keep him focused and helps him keep a belief in himself and it is nice to know everyone is behind him.

"It is great when everyone appreciates him and we are so lucky to have him over here riding for us.

"Hopefully this (police investigation) will all pass over and will just be one of those things in life."

Fallon, who is scheduled to appear at London Magistrates' Court tomorrow, was riding his second Classic winner in the space of a fortnight after taking the Irish Derby on Dylan Thomas 14 days ago, and the County Clare-born rider could not conceal his delight when returning to the winner's enclosure.

Sporting a huge grin and saluting to the raucous crowd, Fallon received a great reception, and he said: "This does help as you need all the support you can get when things are not going well.

"It is hard to beat the reception for the Arc de Triomphe but the reception I got winning the Derby the other day was the best in the world."

Reflecting on the Oaks, he added: "I was happy enough with the pace and once the gaps opened up in the straight I could have gone anywhere and she has won easy in the finish.

"You won't get ground much faster than they have here and she has quickened away well, like she did at Epsom, and I would like to see her around next year.

"I would have to say she is the best filly I have ridden."

Stoute was happy with the performance of his Royal Ascot second, and said: "She found one too good but turned the tables on the Ribblesdale winner.

"She is honest and progressive but I don't know where she will go now, although I do know she will stay away from the winner."

Rising Cross almost covered her 40,000 supplementary fee by taking third but the disappointment of the race was the Prix de Diane winner Confidential Lady.

Sir Mark Prescott's charge never made any impression and finished a well-beaten fifth of the six runners.

"I could give all sorts of reasons for her run - perhaps it was one race too many or the ground was too fast but I won't. We will just take her home and see how she is," said Prescott.