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Page last updated at 06:38 GMT, Sunday, 13 December 2009

Jockey Kieren Fallon says racing has a drugs problem


Racing has a drugs problem - Fallon

Six-time champion jockey Kieren Fallon has told Inside Sport there is a drugs problem in racing and in Newmarket's racing community in particular.

The 44-year-old is making a new start in the sport after past misdemeanours such as being banned for cocaine use.

"Newmarket has the highest rate [of drug use] for its population in any town in England," he said.

"I know there is [a drug problem in racing]. I don't know what can be done. I've done something and I'm all right."

Asked to explain why more jockeys had not been caught for using drugs, he suggested the problem applied across the horse racing industry.

"I don't mean in the weighing room, I mean outside. If there were people that needed help I would love to advise them, I think there's plenty if you really want help but it's up to yourself."

Chris Wall, a trainer with the Newmarket stables, had some sympathy for Fallon's comments, but told BBC 5 Live that Newmarket was doing much to eradicate the drug problem within the town.

"I'm not sure in what context they (Fallon's comments) were taken," said Wall.

"I know Keiren has obviously had a problem with drugs and maybe he is saying it is easy to get them here and that's how he got sucked into it.

"I can understand that and wouldn't deny there was a problem in the town but I don't think were any different from a lot of other towns throughout the country and there's a lot that gets done for it.

Kieren Fallon
Of course you're ashamed of the things you've done wrong. It eats away at you

Jockey Kieren Fallon

"The police do their bit to keep drugs under control but they would be the first to admit that its not long after clearing out one lot another lot move in. Its always a difficult battle to fight."

Wall also pointed out that the racing industry was doing all it could to combat any drugs use in the sport.

"The racing industry has set up a welfare unit called the Newmarket Partnership which is sponsored largely by racing welfare," he said.

"It draws in a lot of charitable organisations from around the area to help with addiction - not just drugs but drink and gambling."

Irish-born Fallon returned to racing in September this year after an 18-month drugs ban, his second such offence having served a six-month suspension in November 2006 for testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine.

In between times he was also suspended from racing in the UK after being charged with alleged race-fixing, though he was later cleared of all charges.

Fallon said it was the stress of the prolonged race-fixing trial at the Old Bailey which led him to take cocaine again - his solicitor admitting in December 2007, just a day after his Old Bailey acquittal, that he had failed a drugs test.

"Obviously when things aren't going well, my life was spiralling out of control," he said. "Every second week we're having to take trips to England [from Ireland] to my barristers.


"We couldn't see an end to it, we were no nearer after a year we couldn't see an end to it and you get to the stage you don't really care anymore."

Fallon's career has been studded by contrasting fortunes and he has emerged as one of the sport's most contentious characters.

As one of the most successful jockeys in British horse racing, Fallon has three victories in the Derby, four in the 2,000 Guineas, four in the 1,000 Guineas for fillies and four in the Oaks.

In France, he has twice won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Yet he has always courted controversy - whether receiving a six-month ban for pulling jockey Stuart Webster off his horse, battling with tabloid newspapers or being accused of having an affair with the wife of his then trainer Sir Henry Cecil.

Fallon and Cecil ended their racing partnership in 1999 as a result of the allegations but the Irishman denies any wrong-doing.

"[Cecil's wife] Natalie Cecil said that she'd had an affair with a top jockey but never named him and I think everyone presumed it was me at the time," Fallon said.

"She's left Newmarket and has gone and I was left without a job. There was no truth in the rumours at all. Nothing had ever come of it, but I think her saying these things - it didn't look good for me."

Despite his past Fallon says he is looking forward to a future which is devoid of controversy.

"I know now that I have to be stronger if I am to get away from the circle of people that bring you down, and move on," he said. "I don't know how many years I have left but I'll be working hard to do things right.

"Of course you're ashamed of the things you've done wrong. It eats away at you. And it builds up inside you, and you feel embarrassed. You walk back in the weighing room, after not being there for a long time and you think, oh Jesus Christ.

"It takes a couple of weeks before you start feeling yourself again, you're always trying to avoid people and it's embarrassing. But it won't happen again."

Watch Inside Sport on Monday 14 December on BBC One at 2325 GMT

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see also
Fallon back in the saddle
01 Sep 09 |  Horse Racing
Fallon claims first win on return
05 Sep 09 |  Horse Racing
Fallon fails in drugs ban appeal
08 Feb 08 |  Horse Racing
Jockey Fallon's rollercoaster ride
25 Jan 08 |  Horse Racing

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