Tuesday 21 June 2011

Mum's The Word: But You're Behaving Unfairley

GREG FAIRLEY’s career has hit the rocks after a phone call to his mum from trainer Mark Johnston this month.

Ma Fairley is her son’s agent and around June 8 she made a serious error of judgement in pointing out to Johnston over the phone that Greg, above, was being sent to all ends of the country for one or two rides. She concluded by saying she thought that it was not in Greg’s interest for her to carry on taking bookings on that basis.

If there are two things a jockey should know it is not to mess with Johnston and not to bite the hand that feeds you.

“The current situation is entirely of their making,” said Johnston. “Greg has ridden out for me in the mornings since he was an apprentice and still does. I’ve not had a chance to talk to him about it but I’ve taken what his mother said at face value.” A leading jockey’s career has possibly never nose-dived faster than Fairley’s in recent weeks.

In the last four years he has averaged 550 rides and his mounts have won over £2.2million in the UK alone. Since June 10 he has had just 10 rides for other trainers and not made the first four on any of them. His total of prizemoney won is stuck on £84,583 for the year.

Fairley has ridden 231 winners in the last five years for Johnston, who has given him 1,329 rides in that time. Only Joe Fanning has had more – 1,674. Figures which confirm Johnston’s loyalty to those who give him 100 per cent. Step out of line and the likes of Silvestre De Sousa and Royston Ffrench are there to take the rides.

Johnston is a forgiving man – one of the fairest in racing – and it would be in Fairley’s interest to acknowledge his mum has put her foot in it.