Jockey Cieren Fallon gearing up for a family affair

Cieren Fallon will be racing closer to home next month – and he can’t wait.

Saturday, 14th August 2021, 12:41 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th August 2021, 12:42 pm
Cieren Fallon is a big Wigan Warriors fan

The Wigan jockey is looking forward to competing in front of his family and friends when he takes part in the Sprint Cup Celebration at Haydock next month.

“I love riding there,” said the 23-year-old, from Swinley. “My mates try and come if they can and my family come along and it’s like being at home.

“It’s good to see everyone and going up to Haydock feels like a family affair!

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“I’ve got a lot of fans up there and it was the scene of my first ever big race win in the Old Borough Cup for Ian Williams on Time To Study. I was still a 5lbs claimer so it was huge and the atmosphere was amazing. I had to shoot to Chester though so I couldn’t really celebrate it!

“I used to go there growing up, too - when my dad was racing there I’d go to watch him in the later stages of his career.”

Fallon played rugby league for Shevington Sharks, and football for Standish Strikers, as a junior.

And despite having a famous jockey - dad Kieren is a six-time champion jockey - he only switched to racing late on.

Fallon has made a quick impression, claiming back-to-back Champion Apprentice titles and riding two Ground One winners – the 2020 July Cup at Newmarket and the 2021 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, on the Roger Teal-trained Oxted.

“I had zero interest in racing growing up and I just enjoyed playing all sport really,” he said.

“I played football and rugby and did running, there’s no horse racing up in Wigan really so there was no interest really.

“I don’t know what it was that got me into it, but at around the age of 18 I just thought ‘Why not, I’ve done every other sport and not this’ – so I gave that sport a go as well! I was 17 or 18 the first time I sat on a horse.”

When he did make the transition, he was able to call on his dad for advice.

“I couldn’t get anyone better. He just tells me as it is and I’m very lucky to have him,” said Fallon.

“He’s constantly giving me good advice which is what I think any young person should have and I’m just lucky to be able to have him.

“I have also got Michael Hills as well, who’s my jockey coach. I ride out with him at William Haggas’ yard and since I started out I’ve had him and my dad helping me and I work with him still now.

“He’s been very good and has helped me with everything, even off the track with other little things, so he’s been a big part of my career as well.”

Fallon has also ridden for the Armstrong family, who name the majority of their horses after places in the north west. “I rode them a winner at Ascot on my first ride for them this month on a horse called Bickerstaffe, so hopefully there’s more to come,” he smiled.

“It’s funny being in races against horses called things like Pemberton – maybe I can ride their Wigan-inspired horses!”

He is also a huge Warriors fan, and despite their struggles this season he said: “You can never write off Wigan. If they can get their full squad back up and running and get into the play-offs they should be in there with a big chance.

"I played league myself when I was younger but I’m just too small! I still follow Wigan now and some of my mates play for the club, so it’s nice.

“I’m mates with Sam Halsall, Morgan Smithies, Umyla Hanley and Amir Bourouh and it’s great watching them all play for Wigan."

Asked what he missed about Wigan, he added: “Just all my mates and my family really. I miss La Mama restaurant though up in Standish – I love an Italian! I don’t like pies, so I’m probably a rare breed as a Wiganer!”

There is Group One racing at Haydock Park next month with the Sprint Cup Celebration from Thursday 2nd-Saturday 4th September. Tickets are on sale via thejockeyclub.co.uk/haydock