Kieren Fallon: Jockey back among the winners at age of 51
|Chester May meeting|
|Dates: 4-6 May Venue: Chester racecourse BBC coverage: Friday commentary is live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 14:00 BST|
Kieren Fallon plans to shake off a troubled year and become a more familiar face again on British racecourses after a win at Chester.
The six-time champion jockey, 51, won on Sir Maximilian and said illness had previously affected his performance.
"My riding was terrible, it was very weak, and I had a lot of blood tests and everything," he said.
"I didn't feel right at all in the second half of the season. I didn't know where I wanted to be.
Fallon won the Homeserve Conditions Stakes on Sir Maximillian on Chester Cup Day on Wednesday.
He has won the Derby at Epsom three times and at his peak was dubbed 'King Kieren' by adoring punters, but has barely had 100 mounts in Britain since the beginning of 2015.
At various times in his pomp, he was the number one rider for the powerful strings of Sir Henry Cecil, Sir Michael Stoute and the Coolmore racing and thoroughbred breeding empire, but has plied a considerably quieter trade in the US and more recently in Ireland.
"It was a blessing in disguise that [trainer] Michael [O'Callaghan] rang me to come back and ride in Ireland, and I had to go and do a medical, and that's when things turned around for me, and I feel great now," Fallon told the BBC Radio 5 live sports extra racing show.
"They [Irish Turf Club] have a great doctor, Adrian McGoldrick, and he's sorted me out."
Fallon declined to go into any details of the problem, but added: "I wasn't well at all, I feel much better now than I did last year, and we're back on the road again."
Now one of the weighing room's most senior figures, he insists there are no plans to bring down the curtain on one of the sport's most eventful and controversial stories.
That career has swung spectacularly from brilliant rides and big-race winners' circles, to drugs bans, a string of clashes with racing's authority and even to the dock at the Old Bailey where his high-profile trial for alleged corruption famously collapsed.
"It depends on the body," he said. "I'm lucky. Some of the boys have to waste hard, and sit in the sauna for many hours, but I'm lucky I can eat and drink what I like, and my weight's great.
"Thank God, I've had a great career and we didn't have too many injuries, so when you put them two together, you will last a bit longer."
Fallon expects to be making frequent visits to Britain when there is no racing in Ireland, and hopes Sir Maximilian may take him to a sprint race at Royal Ascot in June.
Meanwhile, he believes The Curragh-based O'Callaghan string contains a number of promising types including the filly Now Or Never, a possible for the Irish 1000 Guineas.
The run of Friday afternoon live racing on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra continues at Chester on May 6 from 14:00 BST.