Kieren Fallon

EPSOM, UNITED KINGDOM: Kieron Fallon looks happy after winning the Vodaphone Derby, on North Light, Epsom, 05 June 2004. This was Fallon's third win in the major classic race of the British racing calendar. AFP PHOTO/ Martyn HAYHOWKieren Fallon is one of the most successful jockeys in the recent history of the Epsom Derby, and like his hero Lester Piggott, has courted his fair share of controversy during his successful flat racing career.

Kieren Fallon was born in County Clare, Ireland in 1965. His interest in horseracing led to him becoming involved in the Irish flat racing scene as an apprentice jockey. Fallon joined the stable of Irish trainer Kevin Prendergast at the age of 17, and spent the next two years sharpening his skills as a rider.

The first win of Kieren Fallon’s career came two years into his internship with Prendergast when he rode Piccadilly Lord to victory at Navan. Three years later Fallon had progressed sufficiently to consider a move to England, having finished second in the Irish Apprentices table.

The move to England proved to be a success and Kieren Fallon rode his first winner as a fully fledged professional in 1988 on Evichstar. This win marked the maturation of Fallon as a jockey as he began achieving consistently at the top level.

The breakthrough in Fallon’s career came in 1997 when he was offered a place in the stable of another Epsom Derby Champion, Henry Cecil. In his first season with Cecil Kieren Fallon picked up two classics at the 1,000 Guineas and The Oaks, before pulling in several Group 1 race wins on the continent. His performances in this season earned him his first British Jockey Champions title.

In 1999 Kieren Fallon rode his first Epsom Derby winner, Oath, on the back of two incredibly successful seasons that had seen him win two more Classics and retain his Champion Jockey title. Fallon and Cecil parted ways in 2000, only for Fallon to snapped up by Sir Michael Stoute.

Working with Stoute, Fallon had access to some of the best thoroughbreds in the world and used this opportunity to take consecutive Epsom Derby wins in 2003 and 2004. Since achieving these results the Epsom Derby Champion’s career has sunk into controversy with his license suspended first for allegations of race fixing, and then for positive results from drug tests.

After three years out in the cold, Fallon returned to racing in 2007 only to again test positive for a banned substance. His millions of fans will be hoping we haven’t seen the last of this great Irish Epsom Derby champion.