OISIN MURPHY’S 14-month ban from racing has opened the door to another jockey jumping into his saddle.
But you could say that was always going to be the case for Cieren Fallon, son of legendary rider Kieren.
Fallon is taking over from Murphy after he was banned from racing for 14 months
Champion jockey Murphy cannot race again until next year, meaning the mega-rich Qatar Racing need a new No 1.
They have publically stated they will stand by Murphy, but have drafted in Fallon, 23, as his replacement.
And, really, they couldn’t have got anyone much better.
Fallon, who has been Murphy’s understudy since August 2020, has won just shy of £3million racing on the Flat over the past five seasons.
Last summer in particular was a cracker.
Fallon, whose old man was crowned champion jockey six times, had his first Royal Ascot winner on the Roger Teal-trained Oxted in the King’s Stand Stakes.
Victory there was worth £198,485 to connections and came a year after his first Group 1 success on the same horse in the July Cup at Newmarket.
Then there was the success on The Queen’s horse Chalk Stream, who won £38,655 with victory at Ascot last September.
Favourite Moon was another winner, pocketing £37,350 at Haydock in July 2020.
Fallon has shown a liking for the big occasion just like Murphy, and says he isn’t daunted by taking over from the banned champ.
The jockey told Sun Racing: “I’m delighted, it’s a great opportunity to show what I can do and one I need to jump into with both hands. It’s a nice confidence booster.
PRESSURE RAMPING UP
“I’ve ridden plenty of winners for them already but the pressure does ramp up a bit now, there are lots of nice horses to ride, it’s a big step up.”
Fallon met recently with the Qatar team to discuss the new plans and says Murphy – who admitted battling the booze – has already lent him his support.
Fallon added: “Oisin’s been there for me from the first day I walked into the job, he’s done nothing but support me.
“But with what’s happened, he’s said I’m always welcome to stay at his if I’m riding out at Andrew Balding’s or Ralph Beckett’s.
“He’ll be helping me with all the form, the babies coming through – it shows he’s got a big heart and he wants to help me, not take it the way some people might.”
Fallon, two-time champion apprentice, also works for William Haggas but won’t be leaving that role due to his promotion.
He said: “I’ll still be in Newmarket most mornings, Mr Haggas is my boss still and has been from the start.
“He’s already given me the thumbs-up for this and to take it as it’s a big chance for me.
RISE TO THE TOP
“It will be a big year for the team, too. We’ve got Roaring Lion’s two-year-olds and horses like Mise En Scene.”
The new role could place new demands on his time as he juggles the two commitments.
It means holidays abroad, like the luxurious one in Dubai he enjoyed with girlfriend Em Tovey, might have to go on the back burner for a while.
But if there is one thing Murphy’s downfall showed, it is the importance of having the right people around you.
Fallon Jr looks to have just that, posing happily with Em and posting brilliant photos of himself as a baby, with his dad teaching him how to ride.
The apple certainly didn’t Fall far from the tree.
Fallon’s career is going from strength to strength – will he one day emulate his legendary dad by being crowned champion jockey?