Kieren Fallon: Six-time champion jockey retires because of depression

Kieren Fallon
Fallon had been riding in Ireland for trainer Michael O'Callaghan this season

Six-time champion jockey Kieren Fallon has retired from racing at the age of 51 because of "profound depression".

The Irish Turf Club's chief medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick, speaking on Fallon's behalf, said the jockey had "lost the motivation" to keep riding.

"Hopefully we can get him managed and get him ready for the next stage of his life," he added.

Irishman Fallon rode 16 British Classic winners and also won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe twice.

McGoldrick said the jockey's depression had gone undiagnosed in both England and America.

He added: "I first became aware of it when he came to see me for his licence earlier this year and he was obviously very significantly depressed.

"It got worse and I met with him on Sunday and have arranged to have it managed.

"It's quite profound depression. As soon as I can get a bed organised for him, he'll be going to hospital here in Ireland."

Trainer Michael O'Callaghan, for whom Fallon had been riding this season, said the jockey had fallen from a horse last week.

"He had a fall on the gallops and he said he's 51 and doesn't bounce like he used to," said O'Callaghan.

"It's been great to have him here and he is going to remain here as a work rider and adviser, hopefully for a while to come - he's just giving up the race riding.

"He's had an amazing career on the track - he must be one of the best jockeys of all time."

Retired 20-time champion jump jockey AP McCoy tweeted: "Best wishes to Kieren Fallon in his retirement, one of the most naturally talented/gifted jockeys I've ever seen."

Having begun his apprenticeship in 1982, Fallon claimed his first winner at Navan two years later.

His first British winner came aboard Evichstar at Thirsk in 1988, but it was another nine years before he became champion jockey for the first time.

He went on to win that title a further five times over the next six years.

Classic wins

  • 2000 Guineas: King's Best 2000, Golan 2001, Footstepsinthesand 2005, George Washington 2006, Night Of Thunder 2014.
  • Derby: Oath 1999, Kris Kin 2003, North Light 2004
  • 1000 Guineas: Sleepytime 1997, Wince 1999, Russian Rhythm 2003, Virginia Waters 2005.
  • Oaks: Reams Of Verse 1997, Ramruma 1999, Ouija Board 2004, Alexandrova 2006.

Controversies

Fallon's racing career was not without controversy.

In 2004 he was the subject of a News of the World investigation into race-fixing and later faced trial for conspiracy to defraud. He was banned from racing in Britain for 18 months - before a trial at the Old Bailey cleared him and five others of any wrongdoing.

He also served two drugs bans, and was given a six-month suspension for pulling jockey Stuart Webster off his horse.

Analysis

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh

"Kieren Fallon brought new meaning to the words 'rollercoaster career'.

"He got knocked down, and he came back again, and again.

"A supremely gifted jockey, he was a big-race master and for many years the go-to rider for top trainers.

"But he was often in the headlines off the track, serving two drugs bans and being dramatically cleared at the Old Bailey of race-fixing allegations.

"Fallon mastered the tricky contours of Epsom to win the Derby three times, and earned the nickname 'King Kieren' among punters."

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