Desert Hero & Tom Marquand, (HKJC)
By Mariko Seki
Having both finished the British Flat Racing season with 91 wins each, Marquand and Doyle kicked off their riding stints on the JRA circuit in the week of the G1 Tenno Sho Autumn (2000m) in October. The 24-year-old Marquand collected two wins on his first weekend aboard the Deep Impact-sired Catulus Felis and a two-year-old Dawn Approach colt named Noisy Approach.
“Having a first win on the first day is incredible and I am very lucky. We are very honoured to be here as individuals, and to be here together is more fantastic. We are grateful for this opportunity,” said Marquand after the race. He also finished 10th in the Tenno Sho Autumn aboard Ablaze, and then ran fourth in the G1 Japan Cup (2400m) atop Daring Tact on Sunday, 27 November.
Marquand and Doyle are staying in Tokyo and drive to Miho Training Centre, the JRA training facility, on the gallop days – Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“We usually finish our tasks around noon and have lunch on the way back to Tokyo, and we do some training together in the afternoon. On Fridays, before going to the jockeys’ room at the racecourse, we condition ourselves and do some research on the horses for the weekend,” Doyle said.
“Mondays and Tuesdays, we wake up a bit late and walk around and enjoy the food in Tokyo. I feel lots of differences in racing here, especially the pace is quite different. In Japan, the pace is sometimes picked up from early stages. And the other thing I need more time to get used to is the dirt surface.”
Marquand has acquired nine wins from 77 rides so far (as of 27 November) in Japan this year, meanwhile Doyle who has been hugely successful, winning four Group 1 races across three countries, has achieved another milestone, marking her first winner at ride number 42 in Japan on 20 November.
Competing alongside her husband, Doyle guided the three-year-old filly Reveur to victory over 1600m dirt. “It’s been character building in these three weeks, but getting my first win in Japan is very special and big relief,” Doyle said.
Both of them also said, “We are very impressed that the Japanese jockeys are very talented and skillful, and the quality of the races here is very high. All schedules, and regulations regarding the horse racing in Japan have been quite established. Of course the quality of the horses is outstanding, so we are surprised with a lot of things here.”
Among the international jockeys who have the short-term stint in Japan at the moment, Marquand, Doyle and Moore have been confirmed for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley next month (Wednesday, 7 December).
“We have joined the IJC for three consecutive years and we shared second place last year. I would really like to win this year,” Doyle said.
Marquand said: “I have not won the title yet, so hopefully I can get it this year.”