Tom Marquand out to emulate fiancée Hollie Doyle in tasting International Jockeys’ Championship succ
Last year it was his fiancée Hollie Doyle saluting for David Hayes at the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship and 12 months on Tom Marquand hopes he can get in on the act for a trainer he’s already had some success for.
Englishman Marquand spent time with Hayes at Lindsay Park during an exchange when he was an apprentice back in 2016, saluting with his very first ride in Australia aboard Tashbeeh at Caulfield for the Hall of Fame trainer.
“I had a month stay and ended up riding two winners for him, it was absolutely great and he gave me a proper kick forward,” Marquand said. “Going back to Australia since I’ve ridden bits and bobs for him up in Sydney and coming over to Hong Kong last year he was great in throwing me on a couple.
“It’s by chance I’ve ended up riding for him in the IJC but it’s good to be back aboard for him. For Hollie and I to be invited out here as a pair to compete in a competition as prestigious as this alongside the people that we are, it’s a bit of a pinch-yourself moment.”
While Doyle was successful aboard Harmony N Blessed, Marquand couldn’t manage a winner during his first trip to Hong Kong for last year’s international week but he looks well placed to change that at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The 23-year-old jumps aboard the Hayes-trained Awesome Treasure in the first leg of the IJC and knows he has to take his chances early if he’s going to be in the hunt in the four-leg event, where 12 points are handed out for a win, six for second and four for third.
“I’m glad I’ve got one stand-out ride because it’s a tough old spot to get a winner. He’s drawn well which is a big help, so fingers crossed,” said Marquand, who also partners Jolly Honour, Wealthy Delight and Seven Heavens in his second IJC appearance.
Joining Marquand in the 12-strong line-up are the likes of Hong Kong-based superstars Zac Purton and Joao Moreira and gun internationals Ryan Moore and James McDonald, with the victorious jockey taking home HK$500,000.
There is also a HK$350,000 bounty for the trainers and Hayes has his sights set on the HK$200,000 first prize after finishing second to Tony Millard 12 months ago.
“I targeted it last year and ran second and I’ve got a much better team of horses to play with this year. I’ve angled a few of them that are in good form towards those races,” Hayes said.
Ai One, Red Majesty and Ginson join Awesome Treasure in Hayes’ IJC hand and the veteran hopes the latter can go one better than his runner-up finish on debut over the Sha Tin 1,200m in October.
“It was a windy day and he led and the horses on the fence were a little bit disadvantaged that day and not many held on and he nearly did,” Hayes said of Awesome Treasure, who missed an intended run last month.
“It wasn’t serious but he whacked his knee on the feed bin and had a swollen knee and with the racing check he was a little bit uneven and I wasn’t happy to run him – he’s a very promising horse with a really bright future.
“He’s fully recovered from that and has trialled well since, so he’s basically first-up again. He’s got nice speed and he’s trialled twice at the Valley very well so I thought he’d be a good chance of running a strong 1,000m at the Valley.”
Millard saddles up four runners as he hunts for more riches and walked away from Monday’s draw with the services of Ryan Moore (Meridian Genius), James McDonald (Sacred Ibis), Damian Lane (Gallant Crown) and Alexis Badel (Resolute).
“I can’t complain about the jockeys, I’ve got some very good jockeys. It makes it a little bit tough that my best horse [Gallant Crown] has drawn the worst [in 12], he’s my best horse of the day but he’s got a bad draw,” Millard said.