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Published: 10:50 | 4/7/16

Kieren Fallon calls it a day

Six-time champion bows out aged 51

Six-time champion jockey Kieran Fallon has announced his retirement from the saddle.

Fallon won 16 British Classics, six Irish Classics and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on two occasions but he also endured a number of lows, including serving a suspension in Britain after being charged with conspiracy to defraud.

He teamed up with Curragh trainer Michael O'Callaghan at the start of this season and rode nine winners from 115 rides in Ireland. However, he has not ridden since his two rides at the Curragh on Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day and a fall on the gallops last week promoted him to call time on his career in the saddle.

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

"Kieren has been a great asset to have around the yard.

"He rode his first Group winner for a long time for us not too long ago.

"It's been great to have him here and he is going to remain here as a work rider and advisor, 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.

"He is worth his weight in gold to us here, but the main thing is that we just want what is best for Kieren."

Fallon began his apprenticeship in 1982 and went on to claim his first winner at Navan in 1984 with his first British winner coming aboard Evichstar at Thirsk in 1988.

He was crowned champion jockey for the first time in 1997 and went on to win the title a further five times.

In July 2006 he was charged along with seven other people for conspiring to defraud the Internet betting exchange Betfair and was immediately banned from riding in the UK, although he was still able to race in the Republic of Ireland.

His suspension was lifted in December 2007 when the judge ruled that he had no case to answer.

Despite being cleared to return, his career was put on hold after the French racing authority France Galop imposed a six month suspension for testing positive for a metabolite of a prohibited substance after riding at Chantilly in July 2006. A further positive test resulted in him serving an 18-month suspension.

The Irish Turf Club's chief medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick has revealed Fallon has sought help for 'profound depression' which went unnoticed when he was riding in England and America.

"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," Dr McGoldrick stated.

"Kieren's had quite significant depression ongoing for the best part of three years which has gone undiagnosed in England and America.

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

"He went to see a specialist in America and nobody picked up on it.

"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.

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

"He said he won't be returning to race riding afterwards and will move on to another phase of his career, whatever that might be.

"He felt himself he had no motivation for the last two or three years and that had affected his depression. At this stage of his life he feels he has to move on.

"We know that a lot of elite athletes have depression. I commissioned a survey in racing last year and 49 per cent of jockeys in Ireland actually had symptoms of depression."

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