Fathers who inspired their sons to big success in racing

Features | 19th March 2019

There have been a number of fathers in racing who have been incredibly successful as jockeys and trainers but few have had children who go on to be equally as successful.

Many of the fathers in the list below were the ones to get their children into racing or even taught them first hand at a very young age, and some of the Dads have taken their kids through the journey from riding their first pony to seeing them win the biggest Group / Grade One races in the UK.

Positive role models in racing and in life.


Gianfranco and Frankie Dettori

Father Gianfranco is a legend of Italian racing having been Italian Champion Jockey 13 times. He also came over to the UK several times and rode big winners, claiming the 2,000 Guineas in 1975 and 1976.

Gianfranco gave Frankie his first pony at eight years old which began his journey into racing. Gianfranco was Frankie’s biggest inspiration growing up. He sent Frankie to the UK to pursue a racing career and was by his side offering advice every step of the way. He motivated Frankie throughout his son’s career, always setting goals and targets. There hasn’t been many targets Frankie hasn’t hit!

Frankie said in a recent interview, “well if I’m a jockey now basically I have to say thanks to my Dad”.

This year, Frankie has enjoyed one of the best year’s in his career, winning 19 Group One races so far! His fruitful partnerships with Enable and Stradivarius forming the backbone of a stellar season.

To the delight of the racing world, there’s no end in sight for Frankie’s career. He recently said, “when I need a zimmer frame to get to the races then I’ll consider retirement”. Wonderful to hear!

Aidan, Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien

Aidan O’Brien needs little introduction. The premier trainer in Britain and Ireland this century has amassed countless Group 1 winners and shows little sign of slowing down. Joseph and Donnacha got the racing blug after seeing Dad Aidan’s obsessive dedication and love of working with racehorses.

His eldest son Joseph rode many of his father’s horses to victory in the biggest races around the world and now he’s making similar strides as a trainer. Joseph has won 37 Group / Graded since races including one of the biggest races in the world, the Melbourne Cup with Rekindling in 2017.

Aidan’s youngest son Donnacha, 21, too has had a brilliant start to his riding career; securing multiple Classic wins and becoming Irish Champion Jockey in 2018.

(Aidan’s daughter Ana was no slouch in the saddle either – becoming just the third female rider to compete in Epsom Derby in 2017. A nasty neck injury has since curtailed her professional riding career, but she remains an integral part of the Ballydoyle team; alongside her older sister Sarah who’s ridden multiple winners as an amateur.)

Kieren and Cieren Fallon Jnr

Kieren Fallon with 4 year old Cieren in 2003

Father, Kieren, was one of the very best jockeys of his generation. The Irishman recorded over 2,500 winners during his 30 years in the saddle, with six Champion Jockey titles collected along the way for good measure.

Kieren rode scores of star horses to top-level success, but out of the lot his favourite was Coolmore’s Dylan Thomas. The pair were unbeaten together, recording victories in the Irish Derby, the Irish Champion Stakes twice and the Arc.

It’s clear that Kieren has passed on his huge bank of knowledge to his son, Cieren. The signs were there from the very start – Cieren won his first race on only his third ever ride on a 25/1 outsider.

2019 was an incredible season for Cieren Fallon, accumulating 50 winners and claiming the Champion Apprentice Title. A feat his father didn’t achieve!

Unsurprisingly the racing public are very excited by Cieren, not only for his consistency but his ability to win big races. He won the Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup at Haydock, and the Portland Handicap on the final day of the St Leger Festival. Both were big, competitive handicaps where he displayed great skill and racing intuition.

John and David Egan

John and David Egan

John has been riding for over 25 years and the veteran has accumulated over 1,000 winners. He’s triumphed on the biggest stages, winning the July Cup twice as well as claiming the Irish 2,000 Guineas in 2003.

Father and son have even come up against each other several times in the last few years!

Although they compete against each other, John would have been incredibly proud when David emulated him by becoming a Royal Ascot winner this year. David handled the added pressure of being on favourite Daahyeh brilliantly and went on to win the Group 3 Albany Stakes. A hugely emotional victory for David, this is what it meant to him.

David is one of the most exciting young jockeys in the weighing room. Already, he’s notched up over 200 winners and he’s been a consistent performer for his trainer Roger Varian.


Ted and Ruby Walsh

Ted was a very successful Irish amateur jockey but his career in racing took another step as a trainer winning huge races such as the English and Irish Grand Nationals. Ted introduced Ruby to the racing world by starting him out by riding his Dad’s horses, then it wasn’t long before the racing world saw the hugely talented jockey Ruby was.

Ted spoke glowingly about Ruby after his retirement, “Ruby had a lot of natural ability, but his greatest asset was his mind, and the way he approached the game. He is very intelligent, and had the tenacity and strength of mind to keep coming back from the injuries he got.”

The recently retired Ruby rode some of Ted’s best horses such as Papillon which he rode to Grand National success in 2000.

(Ted was also an inspiration to Katie who rode over 100s of winners and Katie rode many of Ted’s top horses including Seabass who came close to Grand National glory in 2012 finishing third.)

Peter / Michael and Tom Scudamore

Credit: Racing Post

Peter, universally known as ‘Scu’, won eight Champion Jockey titles riding 1,678 winners as well as being a successful trainer, pundit and columnist which earned him an MBE for services to the sport.

Peter is part of a racing dynasty with his father Michael winning the 1959 Grand National, and his son Tom is continuing the family’s success as a jockey.

There was more success for the family with Peter’s partner Lucinda Russell winning the 2017 Grand National with One For Arthur.

Peter recalls his fluctuating emotions as he cheered on his son, Tom, riding in the 2017 Grand National, while also shouting for the eventual winner – trained by his partner, Lucinda Russell.

“You can’t help it, your family ties are always stronger than anything else” says Peter, who is also assistant trainer to Russell. “Throughout the race, I watched Tom then just after the Canal Turn, Vieux Lion Rouge begins to drop back and Arthur is coming up. Then it was all watching One For Arthur, but a glance back to make sure Tom was getting round safely.”


Gary, Ryan, Jamie and Josh Moore

The Moore family are one of the most well-known family’s in racing. Racing is deeply rooted in the family history, it goes back three generations starting with Charlie Moore. Charlie started out life as a used-car-salesman but also became a trainer after buying a horse at auction. He went on to train 500 winners as well as inspire his son and grandchildren to pursue a career in racing.

Charlie’s son Gary rode over 200 winners as a National Hunt jockey and after retiring from the saddle in the 1990s, Gary has become one of the most successful dual trainers in the country. Gary has trained over 1,000 winners on the Flat including four Group races as well as having winners ridden by all four of his children.

Jamie and Joshua are both jump jockeys with Ryan plying his trade on the Flat.

The siblings are highly competitive but it’s hard to argue against Ryan being the best jockey in the family. Many in the racing world regard Ryan as the world’s leading jockey on the Flat, he’s a three-time Champion Jockey and he has over 100 Group One races to his name, an incredible amount!

Jamie and Joshua do race each other regularly in many of the top Jumps races around the UK which adds that extra little spice to things.

And it looks like the fourth generation are set to continue the family tradition. Here’s Matt Chapman chatting to Ryan Moore and his son at Plumpton.

(Hayley was also a top amateur jockey on the Flat and she experienced big winners including the Ladies’ Handicap at Ascot before moving on to become a presenter.)

Nigel / Sam & Willy Twiston-Davies

Credit: Daily Mail

Nigel has trained over a 1,000 winners including Grand National winners and the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner in Imperial Commander.

Sam has the potential to be champion jockey and Willy is part of an elite group of jockeys that won at Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot.

When Nigel was asked in a recent interview whether he was worried about his sons riding over fences, he responded, “No, they’re good at what they do. To be honest, I worry much more about them driving 50,000 miles a year!”

Martin and David Pipe

The 15-time National Hunt Champion Trainer Martin, was hugely successful training over 200 winners in one season on eight occasions he trained over 200 winners in one season, with a record tally of 243 in 1999-2000 and an amazing lifetime tally of 4183 European winners.

He saddled a total of 34 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, including two Champion Hurdles in 1993 (Granville Again) and 1997 (Make A Stand) as well as winning the biggest of the lot, the Grand National in 1994 with Miinnehoma.

Martin announced his retirement in 2006 and handed over the reins to David who has been successful in his own right, a particular highlight is emulating his father by training the 2008 Grand National winner Comply Or Die.