11/29/2006 1:00AM

Fallon banned in France


Kieren Fallon was slapped with a six-month suspension by the French racing authority, France-Galop, on Wednesday for having tested positive for traces of a metabolite of an unspecified banned substance. The routine test was taken after Fallon had ridden Ivan Denisovich to an eighth-place finish in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly on June 9.

Barring an appeal, his suspension is scheduled to begin on Dec. 7 and will last through June 6, meaning that he will miss the 1000 and 2000 Guineas in Ireland, their French equivalents, as well as the Prix du Jockey-Club, or French Derby. Ireland and France are two of the countries that have allowed Fallon to continue riding since he has been charged in Britain with attempting to defraud bettors. Earlier this week, his application for a license to ride at Sha Tin for the Hong Kong International Races on Dec. 10 was denied by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

The amount of the unspecified metabolite found in Fallon's system was slight, and could have arisen as a result of what expert witness Dr. Michael Lewis termed "environmental contact." As France-Galop considers such a positive to constitute a "strict liability offense," it had no choice but to impose the ban.