Flat racing’s fantastic families

Features | 11th October 2019

As the Flat season comes to it’s crescendo in the coming fortnight, we look set to see one of racing’s most famous names return to the spotlight.

Cieren Fallon Jr’s meteoric rise through the Apprentice ranks will likely see him crowned Champion Apprentice on QIPCO British Champions Day – a feat not even his legendary six-time Champion Jockey father Kieren achieved as a young rider.

Many sons and daughters follow in the footsteps of their parents and go on to great success, often in no small part because of their parents’ expert knowledge and advice.

Below we list off some of Flat racing’s most remarkable family acts. 

The Fallons

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 has been a breakthrough season for Cieren. He currently leads the Apprentice Jockey Championships with 8 winners, holding a significant lead over Sean Davis. The Champion Apprentice title is within his grasp, a crown his father didn’t even achieve.

Unsurprisingly the racing public are very excited by Cieren, not only for his consistency but his ability to win big races. Last month, 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.

The O’Briens

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.

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.

Their daughter Ana (jockey pictured) 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.

The Dettoris

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.

Frankie’s passionate personality and huge talent comes from both parents, his mother was a circus performer whose most famous trick was performing back-flips while standing astride two horses! No wonder Frankie can do that flying dismount with ease!

Gianfranco gave Frankie his first pony at eight years old and from then on he was destined to become a jockey.

This year, Frankie has enjoyed one of the best year’s in his career, winning 17 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!

The Moores

The Moore family

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 onto 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. 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.

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.

The Baldings

Credit: Daily Mail

Ian was an internationally respected trainer having saddled legends like Mill Reef to the 1971 Epsom Derby and Forest Flower who won the 1,000 Guineas in 1986.

Ian is quite an outlandish character, for example during the 2012 Olympics, he said “I thought dressage is for pansies. They don’t do fences. All they do is make horses dance. Then I watched it and I was mesmerised. I couldn’t believe it.”

Andrew and Clare are continuing the family’s long equine history by being involved in racing. Clare was a leading amateur Flat jockey for a few years before moving on to become a racing and sports broadcaster.

Andrew has saddled over 1,300 winners, perhaps the biggest winner of the lot was Here Comes When winning the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood back in 2017. He has also been instrumental in the rise of so many top-class jockeys including the soon to be Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy and Godolphin’s number one William Buick.

The Egans

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.