OISIN MERHY’s 14-month ban opened the door for another jockey to jump into his saddle.
But we can say that it was always like this with Kieren Fallon, the son of the legendary racer Cyren.
Champion jockey Murphy can’t race again until next year, meaning mega-rich Qatar Racing needs a new number 1.
They publicly said they would support Murphy, but chose 23-year-old Fallon as his replacement.
And, indeed, they couldn’t have found someone much better.
Fallon, who has been Murphy’s understudy since August 2020, has won just under £3m racing at the Flat over the past five seasons.
Last summer, in particular, there was a cracker.
Fallon, whose old man was champion jockey six times, got his first Royal Ascot winner at Roger Teal-trained Oxted in the King’s Stand Stakes.
The victory there cost £198,485 and came a year after his first Group 1 success on the same horse in the Newmarket Cup in July.
Then there was success on Queen’s horse Chalk Stream, who won £38,655 to win at Ascot last September.
Favorite Luna was another winner, earning £37,350 at Haydock in July 2020.
Fallon, like Murphy, has shown sympathy for the big event and says he is not intimidated by the replacement of the banned champion.
The jockey told Sun Racing: “I am thrilled, this is a great opportunity to show what I can do and I need to jump into it with both hands. It’s a good confidence booster.”
“I’ve ridden a lot of winners for them already, but now the pressure is up a bit, there are a lot of good horses to ride, it’s a big step forward.”
Fallon recently met with the Qatar team to discuss new plans and says Murphy, who has admitted to struggling with drinking, has already backed him up.
Fallon added: “Oisin has been by my side since the first day I came to work, all he did was support me.
“But after what happened, he said I could always stay with him if I was riding to see Andrew Balding or Ralph Beckett.
“He will help me with all forms, having children – it shows that he has a big heart and wants to help me, and not take it the way some people do.”
Fallon, a student of the two-time champion, also works for William Haggas, but will not leave this position due to his promotion.
He said: “I will still be in Newmarket in the morning, Mr Haggas is still my boss and has been since the beginning.
“He has already praised me for it and I took a chance because this is a big chance for me.
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“It will be a big year for the team as well. We have two year old Roaring Lions and horses like Mise En Scene.”
The new role may require him to spend more time as he combines two obligations.
This means that a vacation abroad, such as the luxury vacation in Dubai he enjoyed with girlfriend Em Tovey, may have to be put aside for a while.
But if there’s one thing that Murphy’s downfall showed, it’s the importance of having the right people by your side.
Fallon Jr seems to have just that, happily posing with Em and posting brilliant photos of himself as a child, with his dad teaching him how to ride.
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
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