Champion Apprentice Title Race: Fallon in Front

Features | 26th August 2020

The reigning Champion Apprentice is having another breakout season. But can any of the young chasing pack close the gap on the Group 1 winner? 

Cieren Fallon Jr – 22 wins

Having retained his apprentice status, last year’s Champion Apprentice Cieren Fallon Jr was always going to prove a tough foe for the new wave of riders to overhaul. 

The son of the mercurial six-time Champion Jockey Kieren Fallon has again ridden well above expectations and continues to impress on the biggest stages. The 21-year-old landed his first Group 1 win at the first time of asking when accompanying sprinter Oxted to victory in this year’s July Cup.

Outside of that major success, Fallon Jr has been a regular in the winners’ enclosure for a wide range of different trainers. His win aboard 200/1 outsider Intercessor is the biggest priced winner ridden in the UK this year. 

The reigning Champion Apprentice will be hoping to keep his great vein of form going as the season draws into the latter stages. Currently leading the Apprentice title race on 22 wins, he leads second placed Harrison Shaw by 10. 

His success has not gone unnoticed, just recently landing the role of second jockey to Oisin Murphy in the powerful Qatar Racing operation. 

Harrison Shaw – 12 wins

Harrison’s passion for horses first emerged when he was 11 and he has pursued that dream since he first jumped on the back of a horse. His journey led him down the show jumping route before landing roles with Sue Smith, Kevin Ryan and Mick Easterby in 2017 where he rode in his first race under rules.

Now based with the powerful yard of Karl Burke, he has seemingly gone from strength to strength; sitting on 87 career wins, just 8 away from the mark of 95 needed to ride out his claim.

Despite the interrupted season, Shaw has begun superbly landing 12 victories from 124 rides, leaving him sitting clear in second place in the Apprentice Title table.

The Chasing Pack

The chasing pack is brimming with young talent. In third spot with nine wins to his name is Marco Ghiani, the successful apprentice to Stuart Williams. Towards the end of 2019 he rode out his 7lb claim and 2020 has seen him continue to progress. Thore Hammer Hansen and Thomas Greatrex make up the rest of the top 5 with both currently sitting on eight wins in joint fourth position. 

Thore’s season got off to an absolute flyer as he registered his first Royal Ascot victory in June. A career landmark that is still sought after by even the most accomplished professional jockeys.

Greatrex meanwhile has also tasted some major Saturday success in recently. The son of top National Hunt trainer Warren Greatrex has forged a strong relationship with Shropshire-based trainer David Loughnane this year; their season highlight coming last month as the hugely promising Santosha won the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot. 

The full Apprentice Championships table can be found via the PJA website here.

For all other information on all Championships visit here.