KIERON Fallon will miss today's Derby - a particularly bitter pill for him to swallow.

Fallon failed in his appeal to the Jockey Club this week following a suspension received at Ayr last week when he was found guilty of irresponsible riding on Distinctive Dream.

It does appear to be harsh for a jockey to miss a race like the Derby for a minor riding offence.

Why could his punishment not be suspended to when there are no Group races? It is totally out of proportion to the crime.

Fallon's mount, impressive Two Thousand Guineas winner Golan, is now taken by Pat Eddery, who is in tremendous form despite being in the veteran bracket. I expect Eddery to land his third Derby, the last one being Quest for Fame in 1990.

Sir Stanley Clarke took control of Sedgefield this week, making it the sixth racecourse owned by his company.

Clarke, whose company controls the voting of 75.3 per cent of Sedgefield Steeplechase Ltd, but owns no share, will take over as the course's chairman.

He has improved facilities at all the racecourses he has been involved in and, although the battle for control at Sedgefield has been controversial, I wish him luck at a course which is an important part of the northern racing scene.

Pontefract on Monday sees Northern Echo - leased by The Northern Echo Racing Club - go over an extended two miles.

He seemed to be plugging on when fourth at Musselburgh last time and I think he'll stay, but there is only one way to find out.

We'll drop him in and if he does stay the trip, he'll run a good race.

Bundy may also run in the six-furlong handicap at the same meeting. We need a bit of cut for him but he's in good form.

John O'Groats ran a blinder at Newcastle on Wednesday, going down by a length.

A poor draw of one cost him the race. Hopefully he now he goes to York next Saturday for the William Hill Trophy and we're hoping for a bold show because, as I've said before, he's really good horse.

MUNGO Park ran well, finishing placed yet again at Haydock on Thursday. Hopefully, he'll get his head in front before long.

The ground has really become firm now -we're never happy are we?

It's either too soft or too firm, but I can't understand why racecourses persist in watering in the heat of the day when the water just dries off in the sun.

Wouldn't it be better to employ night staff and water through the night, allowing the water to soak in properly? That way there would be less false ground and a better racing surface.

CARLISLE racecourse has abandoned its seventh meeting because of the foot-and-mouth crisis, which has now cost the track more than £100,000.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel for Carlisle and it's looking as though the course may struggle to race before the autumn.

Catterick has suffered badly and yet there will no be no insurance - and no compensation. It's just racing having to take the hit.

On the subject of foot-and-mouth, we were contacted by the ministry this week, asking to come and check our livestock - even though they had culled them six days earlier!