The High Court has ranted an injunction ahead of today’s Epsom Derby barring Kieren Fallon riding Aiden O’Brien’s Recital.
Ibrahim Araci, owner of Native Khan who is a 10/1 chance for the Derby, originally had a bid to stop Fallon from riding Recital in the Derby blocked yesterday, but that decision has been overturned on appeal this morning.
Ever the center of controversy, Fallon was expected to ride the grey horse in Saturday’s Classic until switching to O’Brien’s Recital earlier in the week.
That decision didn’t sit well with the owners of Native Khan who had an contract with Fallon to ride their Derby chance, and the High Court have sided against the jockey who is ruled out of the race in a move never before seen in horse racing.
A three-time Derby winner, Fallon will not be watching the biggest race of the Flat season on the television and O’Brien has booked Pat Smullen to replace Fallon on board Recital.
Heavily backed all week, Recital was a 9/2 shot but the loss of the Fallon is likely to see Recital’s Derby odds drift and he is already available at 5/1.
Smullen is a more than able deputy but Fallon attracts plenty of money because of his name and there are plenty of punters who will be willing to take on Recital
Recital showed at Leopardstwon last time out the quirky and difficult side of his character and Smullen has a real job on his hands controlling Ballydoyle’s biggest Derby hope.
It adds an extra spice to a Derby that is already dominating the front and back pages because of the Royal connection, and while Carlton House was uneasy in the betting this morning, the Queen’s Derby favourite will see plenty of support return.
Currently 2/1 to win the Derby, Carlton House will become the most popular Derby winner in history should he justify his favouritism and there will be plenty of people lining the Downs cheering on Her Majesty’s horse.