Cieren Fallon may not have taken much interest in his famous father’s career growing up – but he is already proving he has inherited plenty of his talents and will be crowned champion apprentice this weekend.
Less than two years after having his first ride in public, the son of six-time champion Kieren Fallon will celebrate the first of what he hopes are many titles to come at Ascot on Qipco British Champions Day.
Though the 20-year-old has a way to go to match the CV of his dad – which includes three Derby triumphs among more than 2,000 winners in a career lasting over 25 years – he has set his sights on emulating those achievements over time.
Fallon jnr said: “I gave zero attention to my dad’s career. The only time I’ve really watched him is in the big races on YouTube. I never realised what he was doing.
“I think it will only push me (his father’s achievements) as we are very competitive in everything we do. I always want to beat him, so he has set me good targets to aim for.
“If you want only one championship and one Derby and you achieve that, what do you do next? So I’ve set big targets and goals to keep pushing me all the way and hopefully I can achieve everything he has.”
With his mother Julie also being a former jockey, a career in racing may have looked an obvious path for Wigan-born Fallon to take – but it was only after a phone call to his father two years ago that he nailed his colours to a sport his family have excelled in.
Fallon – who is attached to the yard of William Haggas – said: “I’ve always been quite sporty – I must have done every sport you could think of growing up and the only thing I didn’t do was riding and I thought one morning when I woke up I wanted to give it a go.
“It was just by seeing a few pictures on the wall in the house and I thought, ‘I want to try that, as it looks good’. I rang dad and he brought me down here (Newmarket) and I went to the British Racing School and Mr Haggas’ yard and built it from that.
“Mum was very surprised, but she was happy that I had got my qualifications behind me just in case, as we all know what can happen. She was 50-50 on the idea and supported me all the way.
“He (Fallon) was more shocked than anyone as it was out of a surprise phone call. He was happy inside, he didn’t really show it at the time but he has been very supportive and helped me along the way.”
Though he will soon join a roll of honour that includes the likes of Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and Paul Hanagan, it is an accolade Fallon has achieved earlier than expected.
He added: “I was about 16 winners behind Sean (Davis) and it never really crossed my mind, it was only when I was about two winners behind him I really thought I might be able to win it so it got me excited.
“I spoke to my agent Phil Shea and the boss (Haggas) and asked if I can try to win it now and with the position I was in they both agreed I should go for it.
“We got very lucky with a few more winners and that put me in front and it was just about building on connections we already had and we thought if we kept doing that throughout the year, we might be able to win it. To win this is a big achievement.”
Helping ensure Fallon – who lists his victories in this year’s Portland Handicap and Old Borough Cup as his two highlights – keep his feet firmly on the ground has been Derby-winning handler Haggas.
Fallon said: “I’m very lucky to be in the position I am with a great boss that helps me behind the scenes. Not only has he been a boss but a mentor, and Maureen (Haggas, wife) has as well.
“I’ve only had one job in racing and that is with him and I’ve a real big connection with the boss. He has brought me up very well and looked after me.
“Mr Haggas has said a lot of good things about me and that has helped me build on the outside rides that I’ve got.”
One weighing-room colleague that Fallon takes great inspiration from is the aforementioned Moore.
He said: “Everyone has their own ways of doing things and they have been brought up different, but if you can model yourself in the way Ryan Moore has you won’t go far wrong.
“If I just keep my eye on how Ryan Moore is presenting and looking after himself, Mr Haggas has said that I shouldn’t be too far away at improving as both a person and a rider.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Fallon – who will spend the winter in America based with Grade One-winning trainer Christophe Clement – is already looking to strengthen his links with Haggas next season as he attempts to achieve one simple aim.
He added: “I should have about 30 winners left on my claim starting next season. My target next year will be to ride more winners than this year.
“Mr Haggas has said he will support me so hopefully we can build on the progression this year and with the connections I’ve made hopefully they will keep on supporting me as well.”
Fallon has one booked ride on the Sky Sports Racing-televised card, aboard Commander Cole for Saeed bin Suroor in the concluding Balmoral Handicap.