UK racing salutes changing of the guard

Cieren Fallon’s breakthrough Group One winner provided the opening chapter on a weekend which put jockeys young and old in the spotlight.

Fallon, son of six-time champion Kieren, outdid his famous father by winning one of the few top-level races which evaded him in his remarkable career – as Roger Teal’s Oxted won the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.

Pinatubo and Mohaather secured the equine highlights elsewhere, with their respective victories in Deauville’s Prix Jean Prat and Ascot’s Summer Mile Stakes.

But it was a second jockey, at the opposite end of the age scale, who was also receiving universal plaudits after National Hunt great Barry Geraghty announced his decision to retire.

The 40-year-old cited a succession of injuries in recent times as his reason for choosing to end his outstanding career “on my own terms”.

The rider of 43 Cheltenham Festival winners, as well as 2003 Grand National hero Monty’s Pass, told Sporting Index: “I’m 41 in September, and you can’t go on forever.

“I’m going to miss the buzz, for sure.

“I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had some second thoughts … but I’m settled on it now and pleased with what I’m doing.”

Fallon, by contrast, surely has many future winners to look forward to in the top Flat races.

His landmark success arrived after he made a bold move more than two furlongs from home, and he and Oxted had 1-1/4 lengths to spare at the line.

Like Fallon’s father, Frankie Dettori has also never won this Group One – and the Italian’s wait goes on, after chasing the winner home this time on Denis Hogan’s Irish raider Sceptical.

Fallon, riding in just his second Group One after finishing unplaced on Les Hogues in the 1000 Guineas, is still an apprentice but was unable to use his claim in this company.