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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008, 11:51 GMT
Fallon to appeal over drugs ban
Kieren Fallon after his acquittal at the Old Bailey
Fallon was acquitted of race-fixing charges in December 2007
Kieren Fallon has vowed to return to racing stronger than ever after being hit with an 18-month worldwide suspension for failing a drugs test.

Fallon will appeal against his ban but with several experts casting doubt over his career at the top level, the 42-year-old has insisted he still has a future in the sport.

"It's not a tragedy, you know. Far from it," Fallon told the Racing Post.

"There's no doubt I'll bounce back. It's very silly of people to talk of retirement. I'm young at heart and have many years left.

"I'll use the duration of the ban to get back on track, and when I do come back I'll be stronger, both mentally and physically."

The ban from the French racing authority France Galop follows a positive B sample after Myboycharlie's win at Deauville in August 2007. Fallon tested positive for a substance, thought to be cocaine, the day after his race-fixing trial collapsed.

He was acquitted of conspiracy to defraud at the Old Bailey in December.

BBC Sport's Honest Frank

Fallon is 43 in February and his position as number one jockey to the powerful Coolmore operation could now hang in the balance.

Coolmore spokesman Richard Henry said: "This is a personal matter for Kieren and for us there is no change - we will continue to use the best available on the day, as before."

But BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght said: "Fallon has had a glittering career but the fear is he is now going to struggle to get his career back on its feet after this ban."

Andrew Coonan, the chief executive of the Irish Jockeys' Association, also admitted that the chances of Fallon returning to the saddle at the end of his ban were slim.

"One can never say never with Kieren but to get back to that level after an 18-month ban and to deal with the personal issues that are arising from that, it's hard to see him coming back," he said.

"He is extremely focused on racing and if he came back it wouldn't surprise me but it's got to be doubtful. It's very upsetting to see a world-class rider going this way."

The Irishman appeared before officials from France Galop on Wednesday after failing the test on 19 August when he won the Group One Darley Prix Morny on Myboycharlie.

In November 2006 he was given a six-month worldwide suspension by France Galop, for testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine (produced by the body after it has processed a chemical) after a race in July that year but returned to action in July 2007 at Tipperary.

The 18-month ban is due to start early next month and will run until August 2009.

Henri Pouret of France Galop, confirmed: "The jockey Kieren Fallon has been suspended for a period of 18 months.

"However, he has already appealed and that is the reason why no statement has been issued by France Galop.

"Now our appeal commission at France Galop will meet and examine the appeal."

Fallon's B sample tests positive
17 Dec 07 |  Horse Racing
Jockey Fallon's rollercoaster ride
07 Dec 07 |  Horse Racing
Fallon cleared to ride in Britain
07 Dec 07 |  Horse Racing
Jockeys acquitted of race-fixing
07 Dec 07 |  UK News
Fallon back with win at Tipperary
07 Jun 07 |  Horse Racing
Fallon banned after positive test
29 Nov 06 |  Horse Racing

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