By Nicholas Godfrey
Australia: Tom Marquand’s love affair with racing in Australia shows no signs of abating after the 21-year-old British rider wasted no time in resuming winning ways in Sydney on Saturday when he claimed a G3 prize with Prague at Rosehill.
Marquand had ridden the two-year-old to a similar victory as part of a G3 double at Randwick last month during his successful winter stay in Sydney before returning for a purple patch at home on the all-weather.
However, a length-and-a-half victory over Kumasi in Saturday’s Pago Pago Stakes over six furlongs was more significant as it means Prague earned a guaranteed spot in the field for next weekend’s Golden Slipper, the world’s richest juvenile race back at Rosehill.
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, the training partnership behind the son of Redoute’s Choice, could have as many as five representatives in the A$3.5 million event, which is the primary reason they wanted Marquand to come back to Sydney for another four-week spell.
After riding his 18th winner in Australia this year, Marquand said: “It was worth coming back for. He’s a lovely big horse and he’s not done an awful lot of racing so there is no reason why he shouldn’t handle backing up.”
Maher reckons Marquand is a perfect fit for Prague. “He’s a very relaxed horse and he’s still learning his craft,” said the trainer, speaking to AAP Racing. “You saw last start off a slow pace he just over-raced a little bit and Tom really suits him, he’s a good, strong rider. Hopefully he will stick with him for next week.”
Leading Sydney-based rider James McDonald was the star of the show at Rosehill with five winners on the nine-race card, among them four Group-race successes.
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