Tom Marquand’s return to Australia for a relatively brief stint of riding kicks off at Randwick on Saturday where the highly talented rider has picked up eight rides.
Marquand, who is the only overseas jockey to travel to Sydney for the big Autumn Carnival and The Championships, had to undergo a mandatory fourteen day isolation period and had to return a negative Covid-19 test before being cleared to ride … in what will be his third sortie into Australian racing.
Last season, Marquand came away from his Australian campaign with two Group 1 wins, both aboard the William Haggas trained Addeybb, in the Ranvet and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes … making a big impact in the process. The Ranvet success was Marquand’s first Group 1 win.
Those two Group 1 victories aboard Addeybb in Australia provided a big stepping stone in Marquand’s career with Marquand stating at the time, “I’m very young and hopefully have quite a long time ahead of me in the saddle, but to come down here and win a QEII on an English horse, for someone who has given me a lot of support, at a time that has been tough for English racing (due to Covid-19 restrictions), it could not mean any more.”
Well, not only is Marquand back to try and write another chapter in his Australian adventure but so too is Addeybb, who William Haggas has lined up to defend his Queen Elizabeth Stakes title.
Addeybb has raced three times since last year’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes for two victories, including a win in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Ascot in October 2020 … which was the last time he was in action … while arguably Marquand’s biggest during this time ‘away’ was in the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster on Galileo Crome.
The presence of Haggas, Marquand and Addeybb will clearly add further lustre to the Spring Carnival and The Championships and the esteem in which Marquand, who is still only twenty-three years of age, is held can be gauged by the trainers who have booked him to ride for them on Saturday … which includes all of the big guns … Waller, Godolphin, Snowden, Freedman to name a few.
Chances are Marquand will have plenty of supporters amongst the punters as well.
The Sydney jockey room is often referred to as one of the most talented groups of jockeys in the world and, while he might not be one of their own, Marquand certainly fits snugly into place on that level and the chances are that it won’t take long for him to announce to his rivals that, for a while at least, there is a new boy on the block and, both in getting rides and results, things just became even more competitive.