The collapse of the race fixing trial cannot have been the most surprising news of the decade to those who have been following the case.
Having seen the “evidence” that was presented in court I have been at a loss to see how the case came to be prosecuted in the first place. The evidence was, at best, flimsy at worse unsubstantiated and circumstantial. The police surveillance operation looked like something organised by Inspector Clouseau rather than a competent force.
Whether it is a case of evidence being there and it not being presented due to police incompetence or whether the evidence was not there at all is immaterial. The accused have been told they have no case to answer and they are free men.
Now the case is over racing must face up to the implications. Not least the way Fallon was treated. There has always been a presumption of innocence under British law.
All three accused jockeys had their licences suspended, however in the cases of Lynch and Williams they were still given compensatory payments to cover the loss of earnings. In Fallon’s case, however, no compensation for loss of earnings was offered, the reason being he was licensed in Ireland.
There will also be a large number of questions to be answered. The failure of this trial does not mean that racing is clean. There is corruption in racing, although it is not as bad as some would have you believe. Far too many punters look for an excuse when their horse fails to win and what easier excuse is there than to say the race was fixed. After all punters are so clever they always know what horse is going to win.
The danger is the failure of this case may well hinder future investigations into corruption.
The end of the trial almost certainly isn’t the end of the matter for the jockeys. Although the criminal charges were dropped, there were possible breaches of the rules of racing disclosed during the trial and these will be looked at by racing authorities.
Then after the highs of Friday there came a new twist on Saturday when it was revealed Fallon had failed a drug test after riding in France in August. Reports suggest the drug is cocaine and, if confirmed, this will be Fallon's second drug conviction and will most likely lead to an 18 month worldwide ban.
To be honest I am getting fed up with Fallon. Although he is a brilliant rider I have never really liked him as a person. He has always had a fiery personality. He was once banned for pulling a fellow jock off a horse.
I did not believe he was guilty of race fixing, however he is not the sort of person to be put up as a role model.
Many people, especially his employers, have treated him well and have stuck by him during his recent trial.
How does he thank them? He seemingly fails a second drugs test months after returning from a similar ban.
If the second test proves positive then I really hope the ban will be Fallon's last. It may be an 18 month ban, but racing does not deserve the likes of Fallon in the sport.
Loyalty appears to be an alien concept to Fallon - why should any loyalty be shown to him.
Good riddance Fallon and leave this sport for good.
This saga now goes from bad to worse. Since I wrote the original article it has come to light that his employers have been aware of his addiction problems for some time.
Now isn't cocaine a Class A drug, whose use and possession is illegal?
Knowing that Fallon had an addiction problem, is it not irresponsible for his employers to allow him to ride a racehorse? Not only would he be a potential risk to other riders in the race, he would also be responsible for millions of pounds worth of horse flesh. Allowing him to ride strikes me as crass irresponsibility.
The HRA needs to introduce a more rigorous testing regime. They should swoop on a meeting, unannounced, and test every single rider at the course for both alcohol and drugs. Any jockey failing the test should face a long term ban. Plus they would need to prove they were "clean" before returning to the saddle post ban.
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