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Fallon factor back at the Shergar Cup

Cieren Fallon will try to emulate his father, Kieren, by winning the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot on Saturday.

Fallon snr was the leading rider at the meeting in 2003, bagging the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle award, while he also formed part of the overall winning team in 2001 and 2002.

His son has certainly been making his own name over the last couple of seasons, claiming back-to-back apprentice titles and racking up two Group One wins on Oxted in the July Cup and King’s Stand Stakes.

Fallon jnr now makes his Shergar Cup debut as part of the Great Britain team along with James Doyle and captain Adam Kirby.

Cieren Fallon celebrates winning the King's Stand with Oxted
Cieren Fallon celebrates winning the King’s Stand with Oxted (David Davies/PA)

He said: “It’s very exciting. My father Kieren has won the competition twice and has also won the Silver Saddle.

“Racing is such an individual sport, so it’s great to be in a team. James Doyle and Adam Kirby are among the best in the world and I’m representing my country, so it’s exciting and should be a great day.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

Fallon believes team events can help the public to engage more with the sport, while after a concert after racing is always a popular finish.

He said: “I think team events are huge. If you look in every other big sport you have loads of team events. Look at football, rugby, cricket, tennis – all these different sports have embraced team events and it helps get crowds involved as they start to get attached to certain teams.

“It’s better in terms of the public eye as people can get into the team events and then start learning more about their favourite horses or jockeys.”

Cieren Fallon with his father, Kieren, at Newmarket
Cieren Fallon with his father, Kieren, at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

With rain in the forecast, Fallon – second-favourite at 5-1 behind Nicola Currie with Paddy Power to be top rider – thinks conditions could suit Dashing Roger in the Mile in particular.

He said: “I’ve been lucky to be drawn on some good rides. I ride Snazzy Jazzy in the opener. He was fourth in a Listed race at York last time behind Winter Power and Moss Girl, so the form looks strong and that is a really nice ride to get.

“Island Brave is a horse I have won on previously and he ran a huge race in the Northumberland Plate when fourth despite being caught wide.

“Dashing Roger has winning form at Sandown and then ran well when third at Salisbury last time out. He seems to go well on ground with a bit of ease in it and with the rain on the way, that could prove to be a good ride and is one I’m looking forward to.

“My other two rides Buxted Too and Temple Bruer have both got good chances, so I’m hopeful of doing well.”

Oxted delivers in King’s Stand thriller

Oxted returned to his brilliant best to run out victorious in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Roger Teal’s sprinter was reunited with an inspired Cieren Fallon – who had partnered him to success in the July Cup last season – and the young rider was able to stand up in his saddle to salute the watching crowd a few strides from the line.

The five-year-old was surprisingly running over the minimum distance for the first time in his career, although he had won the Portland Handicap over five and a half furlongs at Doncaster in 2019.

The pace in the early stages was red hot, with even Wesley Ward’s Maven struggling to keep tabs on the flying females Que Amoro and Winter Power.

A day to remember for the Oxted team
A day to remember for the Oxted team (David Davies/PA)

As Que Amoro began to weaken, Winter Power was left in front – but Jim Crowley appeared to have her covered on Battaash with a furlong to run.

However, last year’s winner, who had a setback in the off-season meaning he was making his seasonal debut, failed to pick up when Crowley asked for an effort and he was eventually swamped, although he clung on gallantly for fourth.

Oxted (4-1) had been under pressure for a while, but powered through close home to win going away by a length and three-quarters from Arecibo and American raider Extravagant Kid.

It was a first Royal Ascot winner for both trainer and jockey, the son of six-times champion Kieren Fallon who himself enjoyed so many memorable days at the showpiece meeting.

Teal said: “It’s unbelievable, like a dream come true. This horse has been such a wonderful servant and yet he’s only a young horse and hopefully there are more days to come.

Oxted returns in victory
Oxted returns in victory (Steven Paston/PA)

“With the Saudi trip we went because the prize-money was fantastic, but I probably ran him in the wrong race – it was just the turf sprint was almost seven furlongs. He wasn’t used to dirt and it’s a different style of racing.

“I probably backed off him too much before the Abernant and at York the ground had just gone a little. I was getting asked all the time if I was disappointed, but I thought he ran a blinder.

“The reason we came here was because if we were ever trying him over five it had to be at Ascot as it’s a stiff five. After two furlongs, I won’t lie – I was a bit dubious, but once he got to halfway his stamina came through and he was very impressive.

“Cieren gets on well with him, he won the July Cup on him. Unfortunately he was injured before the Abernant and then he had to ride The Lir Jet in France who ended up not running so he missed the ride at York.

“I think we’ll look at the July Cup again next and then see.”

An overjoyed Fallon said: “It meant a lot. It’s Royal Ascot. It’s a Group One race. They don’t come much bigger than this – it’s a dream come true.

“Crossing that line, I never thought I’d get a feeling like it. What a feeling.

“Dropping back to a stiff five was always going to suit. There was a lot of pace in the race. With all the pace on, I thought I’d take my time, get him into a nice rhythm, get him balanced and it’s paid off.

“He was very impressive. The July Cup last year wasn’t a fluke. He’s a proper Group One horse and all credit to the team for changing it round from his last two races.”

Of partnering a winner at this fixture, he said: “It obviously means a lot to ride a winner here and keep up the family tradition, there’s a lot of pressure with people always asking questions about it.

“I’m thankful and grateful for all these opportunities and hopefully I keep progressing.

“I was on the phone to my dad when I was walking the course after the first race, he was telling me where to go and obviously I spoke to Roger and everything went according to plan.

“All credit to Roger, he had faith in me last year when I had my claim and wasn’t allowed to use it – I’m very thankful to him.”

James Bredin, owners’ representative for Extravagant Kid, who is trained by Brendan Walsh, said: “Frankie (Dettori) said he was drawn on the wrong side, but I wouldn’t want to put that forward as an excuse.

I think his programme will be the norm, with Goodwood and York firmly on his agenda

“It will be David Ross’ decision about whether we stay on for the July Cup.”

Ross said: “After Dubai that’s his second trip on a straight sprint (track) and he appears to thoroughly enjoy it.

“We will think about the July Cup and if that means hopping back, so be it.”

Angus Gold, Shadwell Estate’s racing manager, said of the Charlie Hills-trained Battaash: “Considering he had four months at the stud and came in later than usual we have to be delighted.

“He came there to win his race cruising just like the Battaash we know, but Jim said he just needed it and he had a hell of a heave as he went past the post.

“I think his programme will be the norm, with Goodwood and York firmly on his agenda.”

Darryll Holland and Kieren Fallon team up in new training venture

Darryll Holland has taken out a licence to train from Harraton Court Stables in Newmarket, where he will be assisted by former champion jockey Kieren Fallon.

Holland, who partnered the likes of Falbrav and Double Trigger in a riding career that took him around the world, has been taking his training modules on and off over several years.

He already owns Harraton Court, which was built in the 1880s and from where 1905 Derby winner Cicero was trained.

“The process has being going on a long while. We were actually going to announce everything on Tuesday, but news travels fast in Newmarket!” said Holland.

Falbrav winning the QEII at Ascot under Darryll Holland
Falbrav winning the QEII at Ascot under Darryll Holland (Rebecca Naden/PA)

“I’ve been doing the training modules over a few years, riding permitting. I actually did the business course 12 years ago believe it or not.

“I’ve always had it in the back of my mind, but then I went out to Canada. I just thought the timing was right now and it’s a perfect transition.

“I own the stables, I have done since 2007 but I was leasing it out. I’ve taken it back on. If I didn’t own it, starting out the premises could have been a bit of a burden, but we won’t have that.

“It will be good fun, we can get some nice people in, owners and things like that – it will be enjoyable for everyone.

Kieren Fallon (left) will assist Holland while Cieren Fallon will ride many of the horses
Kieren Fallon (left) will assist Holland while Cieren Fallon will ride many of the horses (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“We’re looking to start off with about 20 horses, but we have plenty of orders coming in so we’ll go to the sales. I think we’ll get full pretty quickly.

“It will be different working with Kieren for a change, we were rivals in the saddle but we’ve become good mates. We’ve got a wealth of knowledge that you can’t buy – 70 years between us.

“The pair of us have been around the world twice, ridden in most countries and if we can’t get a winner between us there’s something wrong.”

On jockey plans, Holland said: “Young Cieren (Fallon) will ride, but his first priority is Qatar Racing. When available he’ll get the leg up. So will Frankie (Dettori), we’ll put him on a quick one! He actually sent me a good luck message the other day.

“We’ll have a big launch on Tuesday, but we’ve got a website up and running with a bit more info on for everybody at harratoncourtstables.co.uk.”

Cieren Fallon aiming high following second apprentice title

Cieren Fallon is hoping this season is a stepping stone to bigger things after becoming the first rider to retain the apprentice title for 32 years.

Fallon has reached several career milestones this term, gaining his first Group-race success aboard Oxted in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket and riding out his claim when clocking his 95th victory.

Oxted also carried the 21-year-old to his first Group One triumph when taking the July Cup at Newmarket, with Fallon subsequently teaming up with Qatar Racing to ride on a retainer as their second-choice jockey behind Oisin Murphy.

“It’s been a very good year,” Fallon said of his season, which returned 43 winners.

“I’ve been very lucky and had a lot of support. Hopefully it can continue next year without a claim. Obviously Oxted helped me a lot, I’ve lost my claim and had a Group success, he’s been a big part of my career so hopefully we can find another one like him.

“I’m going to be riding on the all-weather over the winter and I’ll just keep ticking along, trying to build on this for next year. Next year I hope just to ride more winners than I did this year, have a bit more Group success and just keep building each year.”

Oxted has been a flagship horse for Cieren Fallon
Oxted has been a flagship horse for Cieren Fallon (Hugh Routledge/PA)

Unsurprisingly Oxted is the mount Fallon is most looking forward to reuniting with next spring, and the Roger Teal-trained gelding has been given a long-term aim of the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes after finishing fifth in the Ascot feature this year.

Fallon said: “It’s going to be a big ask from this year, but hopefully it’s going to be a big year. We’re going to go to Royal Ascot and hopefully he can try to win that Champion Sprint.”

Fallon is the son of six-time champion jockey Kieren Fallon, who he reports is thrilled to see him lift his second apprentice title.

“He’s very proud,” he said, “he doesn’t say much, but I know he’s so excited for me and so proud.”