TARPORLEY trainer Alan Bailey gave Kieren Fallon a vote of confidence in the aftermath of the champion jockey's suspension this week.
The 21-day ban was imposed by the Jockey Club's disciplinary panel following his riding of Ballinger Ridge at Lingfield Park in the betdirect.co.uk Median Auction Maiden Stakes.
Some 10 lengths in front of the field coming into the straight, Fallon was found guilty of not riding his mount out to gain the best possible position and was caught on the line by Rye.
'I'd like him on all my horses for the rest of the year,' he said. 'He's a champion jockey, not an amateur, and he wouldn't have been out there in front if it was deliberate.'
The incident and allegations regarding the passing of information has jolted confidence in the sport and is likely to receive prolonged coverage. The showcase of the national hunt season, three days of top-class action at Cheltenham next week, should go some way to redress the balance. More than 2,800 racegoers attended the meeting at Bangor-on-Dee on Wednesday afternoon. The Croxton Amateur Riders' Juvenile Maiden Hurdle opened the card, resulting in a one-and-a-half-length win for 2-1 shot Pilgrims Progress, ridden by Robert Stephens.
Former England football captain Emlyn Hughes was in the winners' enclosure following a victory for his horse Maragun, who was priced 5-1 in the Wrexham & North Wales LVA Beginners' Steeplechase. Tom Scuda-more tracked leader Nev Brown and galloped clear to win by four lengths.
The 10-1 chance Severn Air, ridden by Robert Thornton, landed in front over the last hurdle to win the JPCS Mares' Only National Hunt Novices' Race by two lengths, from Doce Vida.
Pharaway Citizen was always travelling well on the inside rail with the leaders in the Holywell Handicap Steeplechase. Jason Maguire kept the 100-30 shot up to his work and Echo due Lac was one length behind the gelding at the winning post.
There was a photo finish to the Tote Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle, with four horses almost in line jumping the last. Glen Warrior, sent off at 6-1, prevailed under Warren Marston to record a neck victory.
Jonjo O'Neill sent out the winner of the Cloy Novices' Handicap. Alleged Slave set the pace but was denied victory as 11-2 chance Renvyle, ridden by Tom Siddall, made steady progress and led from two fences out to win by two lengths.
The 16-1 outsider, Whether the Storm, prevailed by a short head from Heidi III in the Hugh Peel Challenge Trophy Hunter's Steeplechase to close the meeting.