Murtagh urges Fallon to seek help for depression

Kieren Fallon

Kieren Fallon has been forced to retire due to depression

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

 By Keith Melrose 12:12pM 4 JUL 2016 

JOHNNY MURTAGH, has urged his former weighing-room colleague Kieren Fallon to get the help he needs for the depression that has ended his riding career.

Speaking to At The Races after news of Fallon’s retirement had broken, Murtagh said: “I’m not surprised [he has retired] because in recent years and months he’s not been showing up for meetings and letting people down and that’s not the real Kieren Fallon. He loves riding horses, I think he’s at his most peaceful when he’s on horseback.”

Murtagh, who took over from Fallon as stable jockey at Ballydoyle in 2008, added: “There’s loads of help out there if you want it. If you’re honest to yourself and really want help there’s loads out there.

“I’ve heard it all before, he’s opened up with different things before but does he go and get help or is it just talk? There’s no point in talking the talk, you have to walk the walk. He’s 51 now, maybe it is time he gets the help he needs and follows it. Nobody is bulletproof, we all need a bit of help.”

‘A brilliant, brilliant jockey’

Murtagh, who retired from riding in 2014, also had plenty of warm words for Fallon as a rider.

“Kieren Fallon was a brilliant, brilliant jockey,” he said. “One of the best rides I’ve ever seen was Kris Kin in the Derby. The best horse didn’t win the race, the jockey on the day carried him home.

“It was a funny race. We were that tight that coming down the hill we were like sardines squashed together. I pulled out on Alamshar and Fallon went down the inside. I thought ‘that’s the last we’ll see of him’. Lo and behold in the last 150 yards he gets him home to win.

“I really like Kieren, he’s a great lad, and in the years when he was riding for Stoute he was at his brilliant best.”

O’Callaghan tribute

Fallon’s role since March this year had been as stable jockey to Michael O’Callaghan. The Curragh trainer told At The Races: “We thought we were winning, but Kieren had a fall the other morning and it was a bit of a reality check.

“He has a long road ahead of him,” O’Callaghan added. “Depression is an ugly thing and I’m delighted for Kieren that he had such a fruitful career and came back to Ireland. He rode us a Group winner and plenty of other winners and is a great asset to us in the yard.

“It’s sad but it’s the best thing for Kieren. I’m delighted he publicly came out and said what he was suffering with. A lot of people can take a step back now and understand what’s been going on with him for the last few years. It seems like a bit of a weight has been lifted.

“He’s had a fantastic career and he will continue to work with us in the yard, advising me and riding work. He’s a fantastic horseman, it comes naturally to him. I’ll have him for as long as he’ll stay with me.”

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