Champions Day at Ascot: I won’t repeat silly mistakes my dad made, says Cieren Fallon

MATT MAJENDIE
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Not once has Cieren Fallon asked his father about his chequered past.

From pulling a rival jockey from his mount, which led to a six-month suspension, to a drugs ban and the Old Bailey case into race-fixing allegations in which Kieren Fallon was cleared of all wrongdoing, the misdemeanours are as well versed as his trio of Derby victories and six champion jockey titles.

Fallon’s 20-year-old son has no interest in raking up the past as he treads his own path as a jockey, which this season will end with him being crowned champion apprentice at Saturday's prestigious Champions Day meeting at Ascot.

“We’ve never had those conversations,” said Fallon Jr.

“He knows I know what happened and I don’t want to make the mistakes he has. I’m a different person in that I can say ‘no’ to things.

“If he hadn’t done those silly mistakes, he would have been champion jockey all the time, but dad talks about having the wrong people around him, but I’ve the right ones, him included.”

With the Fallon surname, Cieren is all too aware that his performances — both good and bad — will be unpicked more than those of his apprentice peers, but he relishes rather than shies away from it. He wants to exceed his dad’s achievements and he has got off to an ideal start.

“Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunities to achieve more than he achieved,” he said. “That’s obviously a big ask, but I think I’ve gone about it the right way and got off on the right foot. I’m hoping that continues.”

The father-son bond is one of “best friends”, but there is a hefty competitive element between the two. Dad is never one to praise, but instead to lightly rebuke. “If I’ve done something wrong, he’ll say, ‘I would have done it this way’,” said Cieren. “So I’ll watch it back, see what I did wrong and look at it his way. It really helps.”

Fallon’s rise, which has been helped predominantly by rides from the trainer William Haggas, has been rapid. Having grown up in Wigan with his mother — his parents are divorced — it was only two years ago that he revealed plans to get in the saddle and he has ridden competitively for just nine months.

“It’s all happened quite soon,” he said. “Everyone says I’m the son of a champion so I must have been riding all my life, but I’ve not. Other champion apprentices have been riding all their lives, but this is still very new to me, which is why the good results have all just been a big shock.”

A keen football and rugby player, Cieren only discovered recently how much riding means to him.

He added: “I didn’t feel that I was missing anything beforehand, but if I didn’t have racing now knowing what it brings, I would really miss it.

“I can’t explain the buzz exactly, but when I get on a horse, everything else zones out. It’s just a connection regardless of whether it’s in a race, the yard or a field. I never want to lose that.”

His success is a far cry from his struggles with dyslexia as a child, which saw him moved to a boarding school in Wales at the age of 13, from where he then began to thrive. Even now, teachers from that school remain in touch, tracking his career.

“The school deserves credit for much of my success,” he said.

“Before I was struggling so bad. I couldn’t do it [school work], I’d get frustrated with myself and so I got distracted and didn’t bother.

“Boarding school changed it. They brought me from U grades to passing every subject.”

With the help of his dad, his former school, trainer Haggas and his two jockey coaches, Michael Tebbutt and Michael Hills,

the youngster is heading places. He talks with a maturity that suggests his might be an unblemishedride to the top.