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Fallon case against Cecil in New Year; Former stable jockey in claim for pounds 30,000.

KIEREN FALLON'S legal action against Henry Cecil for alleged breach of contract following his sacking last July is scheduled to be heard in the High Court in London early next year, writes Graham Green.

A spokeswoman in the listings office at the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand yesterday confirmed that three days have provisionally been set aside for the hearing, in the Queen's Bench Division, on January 15.

The news that Fallon and Cecil remain in dispute will come as a surprise to many in racing following constant rumours and reports in national newspapers dating back as far as January that the pair had reached an out-of-court settlement.

Although the hearing is six months away, in legal terms the case is reasonably high up the listings, as the High Court will not be sitting for 15 weeks between the beginning of the summer vacation on August 1 and the completion of its Christmas break.

The champion jockey, who forfeited this year's title when suffering a serious shoulder injury at Royal Ascot which will rule him out until the final month of the season at the earliest, is suing for payment of pounds 30,000.

It is claimed that the amount is the unpaid half of his retainer at Cecil's yard, as well as shares in both the 1999 Vodafone Derby hero Oath and 1998 St James's Palace Stakes winner Dr Fong, plus damages.

Fallon issued a High Court writ last December after failing to reach agreement with Cecil over compensation for his sacking during last year's Glorious Goodwood meeting, for which the trainer cited personal reasons.

The dismissal occurred after allegations in a Sunday newspaper of an affair between Cecil's wife Natalie and a top jockey. The jockey has never been named and Fallon has denied any involvement in the alleged affair.

The Irishman claims his retainer with Cecil, worth pounds 60,000 a year plus VAT, was supposed to be paid in two equal instalments, one after the first three months and one at the end of the season, but that he did not receive the outstanding half.

Fallon also claims that, despite receiving a one-fortieth share following the syndication of 1997 Sussex Stakes winner Ali-Royal, he did not get anything after the syndication of either Oath or Dr Fong.

He claims the earlier payment was confirmation that it is industry practice to award the jockey a one-fortieth share when colts who have won Group 1 races are syndicated.

In a related point, Fallon argues that had he not lost his job as stable jockey, he would have partnered Royal Anthem when the colt won the 1998 Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York, which in turn would have entitled him to another one-fortieth share of the syndication price.

Although the two legal teams are well advanced in preparing their cases, the two sides can settle up to the minute before the court goes into session.

The hearing has been set for three days, but there is no time limit once proceedings begin.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 26, 2000
Words:506
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