Leading rider TOM MARQUAND reflects on his first G1 success on the William Haggas-trained Addeybb in the Ranvet Stakes on Rosehill’s Golden Slipper card – where he also landed a G3 with Young Rascal
A Group 1 is all I have dreamed of since childhood. An international Group 1 even more so. And an international Group 1 on an English horse even better!
Obviously the first thing I should say is I’m lucky even to be here with what’s going on at home. It sounds like it’s not quite as hard in Australia as it is at home but it’s a still a pretty strange time to be away from home. But I’ve had so many messages since we left the racecourse that I can’t keep up with them.
I know I’m in a fortunate position in that I can keep riding. It’s not as if I’m in another country doing nothing – that would be pretty tricky. We can still go out so I’m going to dinner with a few people tonight but I missed the quarantine in England by days, so the stars have aligned for me.
I’ve got to thank the owners, who could easily have got one of the top Sydney jockeys to ride, and I’ve got to thank William Haggas, who has been great for me in the last year or so, both riding and on a personal level as well.
William has sent his horses down and they’ve travelled extremely well – it’s tough to travel halfway across the world and still have the horses perform to such a level in what was a really strong G3 and a G1.
It has gone amazingly well for me in Australia. A few weeks ago I was overjoyed just to think I’d be getting a ride in the Golden Slipper – Prague ran a good race but will probably appreciate a little further.
I’d have been happy just to win the Group 3 on Young Rascal. It was his staying ability more than anything else that mattered, and the way he finished off was pretty impressive; he was never hitting top gear until the last 100 metres really. It was a great performance considering we went pretty slow and he’s a staying type.
Once he got to the business end of the race from the bottom of the straight I was always pretty confident I was holding Mugatoo. English stayers are generally pretty dominant here and the only thing he could do us for is speed. Once he joined he didn’t go by so I was confident I would stay with him and keep moving forward to the line.
‘The horse is an absolute legend’
Then came Addeybb and he was extremely tough on ground that he doesn’t really want – it had dried out a hell of a lot and I was worried about that but the horse is an absolute legend.
Although I’d never sat on him before, he made life easy for me. I popped him out to the front when none of the others wanted to go forward but he pricked his ears and lobbed around. I could get to the four pole without and extreme pressure from anything else until we turned in. He just dropped his head and kept going to the line; his class and attitude showed in a good battle with the filly (Verry Elleegant).
Looking ahead, everything’s up in the air and it depends on what Sydney racing does and how Racing NSW reacts. England took the decision to stop racing as the best thing. If Australia decides to carry on behind closed doors, then fantastic as it’s such a big industry.
But I don’t what’s going to happen now. I’ve got a three-month visa from when I arrived last Friday – obviously I’ve got family at home but I can’t come home and sit on the sofa if I’ve got an opportunity to be riding here.
I’ll just keep going if they keep going and try to bag another Group 1. Addeybb and Young Rascal will both be running at the Championships at Randwick on April 11, in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Sydney Cup. it’s normally run on wet ground and they’ll both be seen to even better effect.
‘I’d absolutely love to be champion jockey’
I really could never have envisaged anything like what’s happened so far in Australia. I came over last year and had a reasonable time in the end but then it really took off when I came over for six weeks in January and February and had 17 winners and won a stupid amount of prize-money. It even carried when I came home and was riding for two and a half weeks in England, and now I’m back in Sydney.
It couldn’t really be going much better. It’s well documented that being champion jockey is something I would absolutely love to achieve. It’s one of my biggest goals, and obviously I’d love to win more Group 1s, now that I’ve won one. It was quite a thrill – I’d love to be riding as many nice horses as I can, in as many big races as I can, probably in as many countries as I can.
It is a weird situation at the moment but the last seven or eight months have been so enjoyable. If I could choose where I want to be in my career right now, then I am where I want to be.
• Tom Marquand was speaking to Nicholas Godfrey