Six months on from quitting the saddle, Kieren Fallon has revealed that life is good in his new role in Saeed Bin Suroor’s racing yard in Dubai.
A six-time champion Flat jockey in Britain and winner of 16 Classic winners and two Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe’s, the 51-year-old retired from the saddle last July.
It was revealed at the time that he was undergoing treatment for depression, with the Turf Club’s chief medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick stating that Fallon had lost motivation to continue race-riding.
Speaking for the first time since he made his decision to quit, Fallon has been exercising horses for Godolphin at Saeed Bin Suroor’s yard in Dubai since November.
“I think Dubai is one of the best places in the world for anybody who needs help with any sort of addiction. When I had my bad fall at Royal Ascot [in 2000], I came out here to rehabilitate and get back fit. I was lucky enough to ride out for Kiaran McLaughlin, who gave me my first winner back, which was why this was my first choice,” said Fallon.
He continued: “You miss that rollercoaster when it stops, but things are going great. I wouldn’t say I’m out of the woods yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“Things are great. I ride out most days for Saeed. They’re lovely rides and nice horses. The carnival starts on Thursday and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Having ridden over 2,200 winners during his career, Fallon has been able to access the help he needs in Dubai for his depression, an illness which went undiagnosed until last year. He does reflect that he wish he’d made the decision to stop riding sooner than he did.
I’m here now and he was a great help to me when I needed him most
“There’s a real buzz in the yard. We’re all excited. We have three runners and hopefully one of them will win. I’ve been out here since early November and I’m really enjoying it,” added Fallon.
“I’m still going on with my treatment, but the main thing is I’m enjoying my work. I love riding in the mornings and golf in the afternoons.
“Saeed has always been very good to me. I’ve ridden a lot of nice winners for him and he was always easy to ride for. I’m here now and he was a great help to me when I needed him most. Winters in Newmarket aren’t what I enjoy.”