By Jon Lees
Australia: Tom Marquand’s success in Sydney during the winter has led local jockeys to call for restrictions on visits by similar emerging overseas riders.
High-flying British jockey Marquand used a working holiday to New South Wales to make his G1 breakthrough during a prolific spell which yielded 36 victories worth A$4.4 million (£2.4m) in prize-money. So popular was he in Sydney that he was nicknamed ‘Aussie Tom’ by some of the locals.
However, Marquand’s success appears not to have gone down well among Sydney jockeys, whose trade body is proposing stricter performance criteria for visiting jockeys.
They want working holiday visits granted only to jockeys who have a ridden a set number of Group winners or finished in the top three of their championship in the previous 12 months, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, which has obtained a copy of a proposal put forward by the NSW Jockeys Association to Racing NSW.
Visiting apprentices would need to have ridden 80 winners or 20 on the metropolitan circuit to gain a short-term licence.
If the proposals had been in force this year then Marquand – who enjoyed two G1 victories in Sydney on the William Haggas-trained Addeybb – would not have been eligible to ride outside the main carnival contests.
With 200 licensed jockeys and apprentices in the state, there is no shortage of riders, according to the association.
“The association states that some visiting jockeys will stay for a few months and reap the rewards of the high levels of prize-money and conditions in our state but, in reality, only the high-profile riders bring promotion to our industry,” the document says.
“They take back with them fees and prize-money that could be earnt by our NSW jockeys, some of whom leave the industry early due to reduced opportunities.
“The association has no issue with international riders coming to NSW for major races and carnivals, but recommends criteria be introduced for other times as is the case in many other racing countries.”