Having ridden his first Group 1 winner in July, Cieren Fallon could be forgiven for thinking that was as good as 2020 would get. Champion apprentice last season, he rode out his three-pound claim at Salisbury last week before being announced as number two behind Oisin Murphy at Qatar racing this week.
Founded in 2012, Qatar Racing have been quick to find success at the big meetings, including Kameko winning the 2000 Guineas this season. Their claret with gold braid colours have quickly become amongst the most recognised in racing.
They had 86, 83 and 74 winners worldwide in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively but they have had just 25 so far in 2020. The lockdown won’t have been a help to that but this is an appointment that can assist them at secondary meetings on a day to day basis.
St Leger Meeting
Doncaster in the middle of September looks the first test for Fallon. Murphy has a seven day suspension to serve which not only rules him out of the St Leger meeting but also Irish Champions Weekend.
Fallon’s biggest ride in the early days looks to be The Lir Jet who scored at Royal Ascot. He heads to the Leger meeting to take on the Flying Childers with connections hoping that the recent wet weather continues.
Fallon has a reputation as one of the most talented young riders in the business. Whether Qatar have enough individual horses to be able to give him a huge chunk of winners is debatable. What they do have is one of the most precocious talents in the sport locked up on a two-year contract which can only be a good thing for them.
Jockeys only being allowed to ride at one meeting a day has been the main driving force for the move, looking to have the best jockeys available at multiple cards. Qatar are potentially looking to expand their breeding operation with the addition of Rose of Kildare as a future broodmare last week. That bodes well for the long term future so this is a fascinating move for all concerned. It will be worth watching closely for the rest of the season and beyond.