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Monday Musings: Of Coups and Separation

The Hollie Doyle/ Tom Marquand bubble will be stretched by a few thousand miles for the next two months, writes Tony Stafford. While Hollie contemplates a trip to Saudi Arabia for that kingdom’s big race, the multi-million-dollar Saudi Cup at the end of the month, fiancé Tom is bound for a return trip to Australia where he had such spectacular rewards last year.

It is fair to say that twin Group 1 wins on the William Haggas-trained Addeybb ‘down under’ instantly propelled him into the top echelon of Flat-race jockeys. Understandable, then, that he is prepared to spend the next two months – thereby missing the start of the 2021 turf season – on those lucrative shores.

The circumstances will be different though this year, as they will be for every UK resident not managing to secure an overseas “pass” in these days of limited air travel.

You need a valid reason for going but I‘m sure even the strictest enforcer of the rules will have agreed that travelling over to ride in races for a percentage of million-pound pots every few weeks is justifiable. Marquand will this time have to spend two weeks at the start of the trip stuck in a hotel room living off room service and, no doubt, Zoom calls to his beloved at the other side of the World.

Covid-19 first assailed, briefly relaxed its grip, and then re-established itself in Australia, where the discovery of a cluster of cases in a quarantine hotel in Melbourne which had been latterly free of the virus caused the removal of spectators from the Australian Open tennis championships halfway through a match on the main court towards the end of last week.

Luckily, Tom is bound not for Melbourne but Sydney where he had 30 wins during last year’s Autumn Carnival. Parting will be such sweet sorrow for the Golden Couple of horse racing but a few more big pots will help them hopefully on their way to getting a joint mortgage!

The two-week “house arrest” it seems will feature an exercise bike to keep the fitness up although if there are two better-prepared jockeys in the UK weighing rooms these days than Doyle and Marquand I would be surprised.

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Hollie’s principal employer, apart from the plum job she got last year with Imad Al Sagar, for whom she will be riding in Saudi Arabia, is Archie Watson. The Lambourn trainer has provided her with 115 wins from the 548 mounts she has had for his stable.

Watson and Doyle teamed up for the Group 1 win of Glen Shiel in the Qipco Champion Sprint at Ascot in October when it took all the rider’s strength to get him home from the equally-gallant veteran Brando in a desperate finish.

Watson, I was surprised to note on looking through his stats this morning, actually had quite a slip in numerical terms of winners between 2019 (133) and the comparatively-modest 70 last year, although quality – rather than the quantity that made his reputation – was the stable’s new focus. Now he faces an even quieter spell after antibodies of the highly-contagious EVA (equine viral arteritis) were discovered in one of his horses.

Watson has imposed an immediate halt on having any runners from his stable for the foreseeable future and is working closely with the BHA to ensure the outbreak is confined so as not to spread it through the racing community.

Jump racing’s recent hiatus with the ravages of one of the more aggressive winters of recent memory looks likely to get a reprieve for the rest of this week. Exeter managed half a card (no chases) yesterday but it is full speed ahead today at Warwick where the featured Kingmaker Chase pits the Skeltons’ highly-regarded front-runner Allmankind against Cheddleton and Sky Pirate.

It will be great to see horses of that class aiming to secure their places in Cheltenham Festival’s Arkle Trophy. I have in the back of my mind that Chaddleton, trained by Jennie Candlish, might be value at 6-1 in a four-horse race where the ground is sure to be very testing even at two miles.

I trust you will forgive what, by necessity, is a less comprehensive view of matters racing but there can rarely have been in the seven years or so that we’ve been going in this place – except of course from mid-March to May 31 last year! –so little of note happening on a racecourse .

As they say, even reminiscing about the past is not what it was, although uncannily on the morning that the last piece was landing in the inboxes of my correspondents and on this site, the events of June 10th 1989 were to be spookily rekindled.

Referring back to a planned four-timer for horses trained by Peter Hudson at the privately-owned Linkslade Stables of Al Deera Bloodstock Holdings – now Willie Muir’s base – following last week’s two-out-of-three attempted coup, I also had to recall that time a failed final leg.

By all accounts one of the architects of the Scottish-initiated bet would have won between £2 and £3 million had the third leg won. That’s the widely-touted figure and of course I have no intention of pointing a finger anywhere! But bad luck anyway, if that’s what it was.

What I can say with some accuracy is that Pharaoh’s Delight’s failure to win Leicester’s Sports Mercury Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at 8.45 p.m. on that Saturday evening some 32 years earlier cost the owner of the horses the best part of £250k – although getting the money from the 300 shops covered by Danny, Kevin, Paul, Lennie and my dad would not have been easy.

When it came to collecting the cash, my then 69-year-old father left those duties to his dog trainer, Paul Philpott, and Paul’s boyhood Homerton mate Roland, known as Boo, who for many years has been a noted collector of racing memorabilia.

Boo, who upscaled to Hertford years ago, has so much stuff, largely racecards and the like that he has had to take a lock-up to house it all. Recently he was asked to vacate the rented space as the owner had a better use for it and, while going through some of his collectibles from the 1980’s, came across the very Leicester racecard which I now have in front of me.

Pharaoh’s Delight was ridden by Pat Eddery that night and she had worked well at home although David Dineley, who had ridden her in work before the race, is still adamant more than 30 years on that he reckoned at the time she would need the run.

That wasn’t the trainer’s view and the now Norfolk-based garden designer was of the opinion she had the best chance of the quartet. The other three won well enough (at 11-2, 3-1 and 8-11) so £10k that had been placed in a variety of bets but the majority as Yankees, was shaping up to be a proper coup.

The plot thickened when Pat returned to the weighing room after her sixth place – “dwelt, headway halfway, eased when beaten final furlong”, said the close-up in the year-old Racing Post. Pat told George Hill - there as I couldn’t attend that night: “Bad luck, she’ll win at Royal Ascot.” She did, by just the six lengths in the Windsor Castle Stakes; and, for good measure, she won the Princess Margaret Stakes (Group 2) at Ascot and then the Heinz 57 Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) at Phoenix Park on her next two starts.

I wonder where Gallahers Cross, the beaten third leg of last week’s much grander coup at Musselburgh when shortened to 4-5 favourite, will run next. If what happened to Pharaoh’s Delight is anything to go by, the Daragh Bourke gelding, having his first race for more than a year, will bolt up next time – but that will be much too late! I expect they’ll see him coming!

Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand announce engagement

Top jockeys Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand capped a memorable year by announcing their engagement on social media.

The young duo both enjoyed exceptional campaigns in 2020, chalking up a series of personal landmarks.

Marquand’s good run began in Australia where he landed two Group Ones on William Haggas’ Addeybb. He would later go on to win the Champion Stakes at Ascot on the same horse, as well as celebrating his first Classic win on Joseph O’Brien’s Galileo Chrome.

Doyle has taken the racing world by storm this year, breaking records with regularity. Her highlight on the track came aboard Archie Watson’s Glen Shiel, who provided her with a first Group One success on Champions Day, on a card she and Marquand dominated with four winners between them.

She also won the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year accolade and recently finished third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The pair are currently enjoying a winter break and Marquand tweeted a picture of them on a beach which read: “So err…thanks 2020 I guess?!” with Doyle wearing her engagement ring.

Tom Marquand looks back with pride on year packed full of achievement

For many the end of 2020 cannot come soon enough – but Tom Marquand is one of the few who can take plenty of pride out of what he has achieved over the past 12 months.

In a year which has been anything but normal, Marquand has ticked plenty of boxes on his CV – securing a breakthrough victory at Group One level along with celebrating both his first Classic success and inaugural Royal Ascot winner.

Though Marquand has enjoyed a number of notable domestic triumphs, it was victory on Addeybb in the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill in March – the first of two at the top level he would achieve in Australia on the William Haggas-trained gelding – where his journey began.

“When William announced Addeybb and Young Rascal were going to go there, he asked if I would ride them and it was a chance I absolutely jumped at,” said Marquand.

“I had the biggest stroke of luck, as I got kicked on my second day back there just a few days before Addeybb was due to run for the first time and fractured the top of my fibula. It was complete luck it was insignificant enough to allow me to carry on riding.

“The first Group One on him was amazing, as Young Rascal went in earlier on the card and it didn’t look like it could be any better than that, but it did and it was amazing.

“For William and the team to get the stars aligned on that day was incredible and then we did it all over again the next month in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.”

With racing in Britain resuming in June following the initial lockdown, the 22-year-old did not have to wait long to celebrate another milestone moment as he steered old ally Who Dares Wins to glory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes for trainer Alan King.

Tom Marquand celebrates with Who Dares Wins
Tom Marquand celebrates with Who Dares Wins (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

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He said: “I thought I had a few good chances over the week and a few ran big races like Yazaman and I was resigned to the fact I was going to have to wait another year for that Royal Ascot winner. Then Who Dares Wins goes and wins the Queen Alexandra.

“I won on him three times as a 5lb claimer, a Northumberland Plate on him, and for him to then come back and give me a Royal Ascot winner was just nuts.”

Good luck often favours those doing well and Marquand – who eclipsed his personal best tally of 136 winners in a year last month – found himself in the privileged position of picking up the winning spare ride aboard Galileo Chrome in the Pertemps St Leger at Doncaster in September.

He said: “I was left without a ride in the St Leger after English King, who I was back on board, was sent to France for a race that looked more preferable.

“A few of the lads said you should try to get the ride on Galileo Chrome after Shane Crosse was ruled out, so I got my agent Shashi Righton on the case.

“Luke Harvey shouted over to me at the start of the Flying Childers that I had got the ride on Galileo Chrome. It was bizarre how it worked out.

Tom Marquand picked up a dream spare ride in the St Leger
Tom Marquand picked up a dream spare ride in the St Leger (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“It was an unbelievable opportunity to ride a horse like that in a Classic for Joseph O’Brien and we obviously had the fairytale ending to it all and I couldn’t believe how easy it all went.”

Having played a big part in Marquand’s campaign earlier in the year it was fitting that Addeybb saved his best until last when routing his rivals in the Champion Stakes at Ascot to gain a first Group One on British soil.

Marquand – whose partner Hollie Doyle has enjoyed another record-breaking 12 months – said: “Addeybb had that awkward draw in stall in 11 and that was something of a concern, but like Galileo Chrome in the St Leger he made it easy as he got across and sorted himself out, and from there he just took them apart – there is no other way to describe it.

“It was so well deserved for him as a horse. All the cynics, until the Champion Stakes, were saying he has only won two Group Ones in Australia and they are weaker.

“To come back and get his British Group One was so deserved for him and telling of the training performance of William and those involved in him.”

:: Third in the title race this year, Tom Marquand is seen by many as a champion jockey in waiting. Here are as his views on his prospects and further reflections on 2020.

On hopes for 2021:

Tom Marquand has championship ambitions in 2021
Tom Marquand has championship ambitions in 2021 (Bill Selwyn/PA_

“Winning the title is something every jockey wants to achieve. I finished third this year and I had a great run until William (Buick) and Oisin (Murphy) stretched away the last few weeks. A lot of thanks needs to go to my agent.

“I’d love to manage it one day, so whether it is next year, I’m not sure, but I will be looking to hopefully get on a few more Group One winners, along with trying to tick that achievement off at the same time. I will be going full-on for it, that is one thing you can count on.”

On Glorious Goodwood:

One Master was a thrilling winner at Glorious Goodwood
One Master was a thrilling winner at Glorious Goodwood (George Selwyn/PA)

“Ryan (Moore) beat me for the leading jockey by one third place. Five winners at Goodwood would nine times out of 10 give you the leading jockey prize, but Ryan had one more third than me so he just nicked it. One Master would be the pick of the winners there, as she has been pivotal to Somerville Lodge over the last couple of years. It was a proper Goodwood winner getting up at the death and I’m glad I got my turn to get a win on her.”

On William Haggas:

Tom Marquand is full of praise for William Haggas
Tom Marquand is full of praise for William Haggas (Nigel French/PA)

“His record speaks for itself and he constantly has a phenomenal strike-rate. I’m lucky to be part of such a significant team.

“I’ve gone to him with many different questions and it is nice we have that relationship, that I can ask his honest opinion of things and he is going to give it to me.

“I think a vital part of any relationship between trainer and jockey is trust and I’d like to think what has happened over the last couple of years has put that in place.”

Hollie Doyle takes joint-third in Hong Kong jockeys’ challenge

Hollie Doyle broke yet more new ground in a stellar year when she won the fourth and final leg of the Longines International Jockeys Championship in Hong Kong.

That was enough for Doyle to share joint-third spot with Alexis Badel behind the Hong Kong-based winner Zac Purton and runner-up Joao Moreira.

Doyle – only the third woman to contest the championship after Emma-Jayne Wilson (2007) and Chantal Sutherland (2009) – struck on the strongly-fancied Harmony N Blessed for David Hayes in a six-furlong handicap at Happy Valley to cap an amazing 2020.

The year has brought her a first Royal Ascot winner, a Champions Day double that saw a first Group One success, a record five winners at Windsor, breaking her own female jockeys’ record of winners in a year, being named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and being shortlisted for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Out of luck on her three previous mounts in the competition, and one earlier on the undercard, the 24-year-old came good on Harmony N Blessed to become the first British female jockey to have a winner in Hong Kong.

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Well-positioned from the stalls, Doyle waited until the top of the straight to ask Harmony N Blessed for a winning effort. The gelding responded and managed to hold the challenge of Ryan Moore on Grateful Heart.

Doyle said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable. I knew I had a good chance on this horse, but you need a lot of things to go right.

“He jumped well, I didn’t have to ask much of him early on and he settled really nicely on the girths of the leader really nicely. The further I was going, the better.”

Doyle’s partner Tom Marquand picked up his only points in the same race by dead-heating for third place on Wind N Grass.

Doyle added: “It’s a huge privilege for Tom and I to be asked after a great season and it’s icing on the cake!”

Tied with Moreira on 18 points heading into the deciding race of the contest, Purton collected an invaluable two after Flying Bonus shared third with with Wind N Grass.

Moreira, who needed to finish ahead of Purton in the last to add another accolade to his bulging collection, crossed the line in sixth place on Cue The Music, failing to improve his score.

Purton said: “In a competition like this when there’s so much on the line, it certainly feels nice to have won it again, it’s another moment that I’ll cherish.

“I didn’t start off too well but we built into it after that. Like I’ve been saying for quite some time now, barriers win races and unfortunately for me it seems have been going on for months.

“I’ve been drawing such bad barriers, every meeting, it’s making so difficult to be competitive.

“Then I come here tonight and, as I said, they weren’t the best rides in the race but the barriers gave them the chance to be competitive. I just needed a bit of luck and things went my way.”

Doyle and Marquand poised to take on the best at Happy Valley

Britain’s golden couple of the weighing room, Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand, bid to cap a phenomenal year in the saddle when they take on 10 of the world’s top jockeys in the Longines International Jockeys’ Challenge at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

Doyle’s season has included a first Royal Ascot winner, a Champions Day double that saw a first Group One success, a record five winners at Windsor, breaking her own female jockeys’ record of winners in a year, being named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and being nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Not to be outdone, Marquand had his first Group One wins this year and won his first Classic aboard Galileo Chrome in the St Leger on the way to finishing third in the jockeys’ championship – one place ahead of his partner.

Hollie Doyle could hardly believe it after landing a first Group One triumph with Glen Shiel
Hollie Doyle could hardly believe it after landing a first Group One triumph with Glen Shiel (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Now they take on the likes of Hong Kong specialists Zac Purton and Joao Moreira in their back yard, as well as familiar foes such as Ryan Moore and William Buick in the four-race challenge.

Doyle cannot wait to get in the plate, although she knows with no previous experience of the track she is going to need luck on her side.

“I’ve got some good rides on paper. You need a bit of luck over here because the margins are fine, but hopefully I’ll have a good experience and see how we go,” she said.

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“We’re not allowed out of our rooms until we race. We’ve had to quarantine since we’ve been here.

“We arrived on Monday and the journey was all good. We got to go in a private jet and were looked after pretty well, but we had to wait six hours at the other side of the airport for our Covid results. That was annoying, but that’s how it is.

“It’s a massive honour to be riding out here and I hope it’s not the first and last time.”

Doyle’s best chance looks to be on the once-raced winner Harmony N Blessed in the fourth and final leg of the series, with trainer David Hayes is expecting a big run from the four-year-old.

“He’s very professional and he did everything right at Sha Tin,” he said.

“He looks like he likes the Valley. I know he hasn’t raced there, but his trials have been excellent. You never know until they race, but he’s a pretty straightforward horse. He should be OK.

“He’s probably eating better now than he was before the first run, so that’s a good sign.

“It’s a nice competitive race. Good step up, light weight so hopefully he can handle it.”

The dual champion trainer has full confidence in Doyle’s ability.

“Her record overseas is too good to be concerned about having her on the horse. I think she’ll do a good job,” he said.

Doyle’s other mounts in the competition are Happily Friends, Universal Go Go and Sunny Lad.

Tom Marquand celebrates Champion Stakes glory with Addeybb
Tom Marquand celebrates Champion Stakes glory with Addeybb (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Marquand’s four rides are Very Sweet Orange, Nunchuks, Surrealism and Wind N Grass, and he hopes he and Doyle can get their share of the spoils.

“Fingers crossed we can walk away with a winner or two apiece,” Marquand.

“Some of the tracks in Australia aren’t too dissimilar (to Happy Valley) with the tightness and the ground being generally being a little bit quicker than in England.

“But we’ve got tight tracks in England like Chester. It’s on another level to over here perhaps.

“Happy Valley is certainly a different track. It’s a test of a jockey and a horse being such a sharp, almost speed-orientated track. So, while it will be a little bit different, very (much) looking forward to tackling it with a great book of ides for both of us.”

Doyle and Marquand join Hong Kong’s international cast

Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand are among the list of 12 jockeys set to contest the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship at Hong Kong’s Happy Valley next month.

Doyle will become only the third female jockey to compete in the event, on December 9, capping a trail-blazing 2020 which has already seen her claim her first Royal Ascot victory and beat her own record of 116 winning rides in a calendar year.

The 24-year-old also enjoyed a maiden success in a Group One race this season, riding Glen Shiel to a narrow-margin triumph in the British Champions Sprint at Ascot.

She will be joined by her partner Marquand, who landed his first Group One success this year too when Addeybb took the Ranvet Stakes in Australia.

Marquand followed up in Britain on Galileo Chrome in the Pertemps St Leger at Doncaster in September.

Addeybb and Marquand also won the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Australia – and shone again at the top level on British Champions Day last month, in the Qipco Champion Stakes, before Njord prevailed in the Balmoral Handicap to give the jockey a famous double on the day.

Ryan Moore is another British name set to take part in an event he has already won three times.

The points-based competition, which invites six riders from Hong Kong and six from the rest of the world, offers a total of £585,000 in prize money – with a further £78,000 bonus to be shared between the leading jockeys.

Making up the rest of the overseas team are French duo Pierre-Charles Boudot, on track for this third national jockeys’ title, and Derby winner Mickael Barzalona – with William Buick also returning for the first time since 2018 after narrowly missing out on the leading rider title in Britain this year.

The home line-up includes Zac Purton, Joao Moreira, Karis Teetan and Vincent Ho – leaving two final slots to be filled by the next two riders in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, as of November 25.

Monday Musings: Tom and Hollie’s Top Class Show

Many famous men through history have had to accept second place in their relationships with their even more well-known better halves, writes Tony Stafford. Their own celebrity was undoubtedly the reason they first came to the attention of their future partners, none more so than Joe Di Maggio, America’s supreme baseball star of the 1950’s, who had to grow accustomed, once hitched, to being referred to as Mr Marilyn Monroe.

Joe clearly accepted that slight (as it was in those unenlightened days) on his manhood, for why else would he have continued to support the troubled platinum blonde film star through the various subsequent alliances and scandals that stretched all the way to a President of the United States? For Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels, read John F Kennedy and Marilyn, illicit alliances half a century apart.

While entertainment and sport stars have occasionally got together, rarely has it been on such an equal basis as Mr and Mrs Hollie Doyle. Sorry, not quite yet, as although the wonderful Hollie and the equally admirable Tom Marquand are no married couple, they do live together in Hungerford. After Saturday’s exploits where the 20-some pair – Tom is the younger by two years – monopolised Champions Day at Ascot to the tune of four wins, so 67% of the six races, Tom hinted that marriage might be on the horizon.

Halfway through Saturday’s card, the various television outlets were in full Hollie mode. She won the first two races on Trueshan (by miles in the Stayers) and thrillingly by a nose on Glen Shiel (Sprint) before finishing a creditable second on Dame Malliot behind the highly-talented Wonderful Tonight, trained by David Menuisier in the fillies’ and mares’ race. Had the finishing order been reversed you could have imagined Frankie Dettori, already tailed off on Stradivarius in the opener and destined to share in Palace Pier’s first career defeat later on, wondering what was going on. Ascot’s supposed to be his private venue, but sorry Frankie, even Peter Pan had to grow old one day.

As it turned out, Glen Shiel was her final win, but after a brief break in the changing room while Palace Pier was struggling into third behind The Revenant in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, she picked up lesser cheques, for sixth in the Champion Stakes on Extra Elusive for her new boss Imad Sagar, and another second on Sir Michael Stoute’s Solid Stone in the Balmoral Handicap which closed the show.

I’m not sure whether the Marquand/Doyle team pools its earnings. By all accounts they usually sit down to relax after their respective long days, maybe playing a game of cards, watching telly or maybe even examining closely the relative quality of their performances.

At times one or other might be in the ascendant, as Hollie clearly was in the first half of Saturday when the total earnings of her two wins and three minor places added up to a whopping £495,000. Modesty precludes me from checking just what the precise share of that will go to the jockey, but somewhere around seven per cent might not be far wide of the mark.

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So Hollie could rightfully say as they shuffled the cards: “Here’s my Group 2 and Group 1, can you match that?”. Well, fortunately, late-starting Tom could indeed counter. “Yes Hollie, here’s my 62 grand for the Balmoral Handicap on Njord, but my Group 1 and the 425k Addeybb won in the Champion Stakes easily matches your day’s work!”

In monetary terms it might just do so, but in the media perception – I still didn’t watch it on ITV, but Sky Sports Racing, who had to share their rightful coverage of Ascot with Racing TV and the national broadcaster - both revelled in Holliemania. It was indeed mostly a one-way street.

In the end, though, it proved to be almost a dead-heat on the earnings front, the final figure arriving at almost exactly £1 million (505 Tom and 495 Hollie); just like their riding styles: tidy, unobtrusive and in each case being in the right place at the right time in just about all their races.

I’ve mentioned Tony Nerses before and there’s no doubt that Imad Sagar’s Racing Manager played a big part in securing Hollie’s services earlier in the year. When the news came it was with a mixture of surprise at the appointment and dread that it might all go pear-shaped, but the tiny Hollie quickly grew into the role. The first Group races soon came, notably on Sagar’s Extra Elusive at Windsor in August, the highlight of her personal five-timer that day. Now she has that first Group 1 on her ever-expanding list of achievements and a record number of winners for a female rider: already pushing 120, that in a truncated year. Which of them will win the championship first? Possibly Hollie, but either will be a credit to the accolade.

There seems no limit to the list of potential employers – if you’re good enough for Sir Michael Stoute, you’re good enough for anyone. At the same time Marquand has seamlessly moved from the guy who happened to be available to partner Addeybb in those two winning Group 1 rides in Australia last winter to now being the go-to man for that well-travelled mudlark’s trainer, William Haggas.

I use the term mudlark advisedly, and there is little doubt that there is no point in turning up on Champions Day if you cannot cope with the soft ground that is almost inevitable in mid-October. That was always the main argument against staging such an important date so late in the year. In a normal mid-October once the European pattern gets through the various Classic schedules of the three major racing nations, there is little scope to go elsewhere. The Irish have their Champions weekend; France and the Arc meeting follows three weeks later, so this is where our big day has to be.

Not that the winners of Saturday’s races are anything but worthy, even if the names John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien, for whatever reason, didn’t manage to collect any first prizes. I was surprised to hear that Gosden was citing the going for Stradivarius’ capitulation in the opening Stayers race. It was the fourth time he’d contested it and he’d won it only once previously. This time he’d gone through the extra exertion of a full preparation for the Arc with a mile and a half run in one of the trials. Gosden’s suggestion that because the Arc had been run at a pedestrian pace it was less demanding than usual seemed surprising.

The biggest surprise, though, in view of his less than outstanding record at this fixture – nowhere near the level of his three Gold Cups there or four Goodwood Cups in high summer – was that he started as short as 11-10.  Trueshan came to the race having won six of ten career starts, including a defeat of smart stayer Withhold in Listed class last time at Salisbury. Runner-up Search For A Star had won the last two renewals of the Irish St Leger for Dermot Weld and third home Fujaira Star had won a Royal Ascot handicap before impressing in a top-class Ebor at York and following home Search For A Star at the Curragh. It was a hot race.

I fully expected Andrew Gemmill to have been at Ascot on Saturday for Trueshan’s win, but he stayed home. Andrew was one of the four original owners – the Singula Partnership- of Trueshan but in May last year they leased the horse to the Barbary Lions 5, a bigger syndicate of 20 in which the quartet also participates. That lease ends at the end of the year according to Andrew and it will be interesting to see whether Alan King will allow this four-year-old gelding to run over hurdles which must have been the original plan. More than likely he’ll be happy to stay on the level and try to win next year’s Gold Cup.

Some spectacular results have been achieved by two of Saturday’s winners, cheaply bought at auction some way into their careers. The Darley-bred Glen Shiel had already raced 11 times in all, once at two, then as a three- and four-year old for Godolphin with Andre Fabre, winning three times. Turning up at the Doncaster May sales as a five-year-old, unraced so far that year, he was bought on behalf of Archie Watson for £45,000 and didn’t see a British racecourse until October. Five runs before the turn of the year didn’t produce a win, but the first of three pre-lockdown appearances did.

On January 8 at Newcastle off a mark of 96 and ridden by Hollie, he won readily. It was not until another five runs later, also at Newcastle in late June that he collected again and that was the start. The son of Pivotal has shown his and his trainer’s ability with a second to Dream Of Dreams in the Haydock Sprint Cup and then by reversing that form while also seeing off perennial Group 1 sprint contender Brando, much to his rider’s evident disbelief.

Marquand was also the beneficiary of an inspired purchase. The four-year-old Njord had started out with Sheila Lavery’s Irish stable, gaining his first win off 63 in May last year. He collected again on October 13 before going to Goff’s sales six days later when BBA Ireland paid 54,000 Euro on behalf of Jessica Harrington. By now on 82, he ran back at Gowran Park only nine days after the sale, winning comfortably. Another win, soon after racing’s resumption in June came off 88 at The Curragh. On Saturday Njord ran away with the highly-competitive Balmoral Handicap and must now be on at least 110, more than three stone higher than where he started.

I highlighted the chance of The Revenant last week in this column and was not at all surprised that he coped with conditions better than Palace Pier when going one better than last year in the QE II. He now has the remarkable figures of 10 wins, two seconds and a third in 13 career starts. In that race, Sir Busker’s alarming tendency to hang left when put under pressure didn’t stop him from finishing fourth, showing that if he had been drawn on the stands side in that most unfair of all Cambridgeshires, he might well have won it. Fourth in this coveted Group 1 and almost £35k will have been satisfactory compensation.

One other horse that we in the UK probably have hardly noticed – I hadn’t! - even after his achievement of splitting Addeyyb and Magical, who was unluckily denied a run at a crucial stage, is Skalleti. This five-year-old, trained in Marseille by the talented Jerome Reynier has a record on a par with The Revenant’s. Even after Saturday’s defeat he has 12 victories from 16 and this autumn has a Deauville Group 3 victory over subsequent Arc winner Sottsass and an easy Prix Dollar victory on Arc weekend on his record.

Preconceptions proved misguided in several cases on Saturday, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that some of the winners weren’t up to standard. They were.

- TS

Sunday ‘chill-out’ is just Champion for golden couple Doyle and Marquand

Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand were on Sunday basking in the glory of their momentous Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot.

Fresh from breaking her own British record for the most winners in a calendar year by a female jockey, at Kempton earlier in the week, Doyle enjoyed a double in the first two races in Berkshire.

After steering Alan King’s Trueshan to a wide-margin win in the Long Distance Cup, the 24-year-old claimed her first victory at Group One level as Archie Watson’s Glen Shiel clung on by a nose in the British Champions Sprint.

Not to be outdone, Doyle’s partner Marquand landed the final two events on a six-race card – aboard the William Haggas-trained Addeybb in the Champion Stakes and then Jessica Harrington’s Irish challenger Njord in the Balmoral Handicap.

With no Flat racing taking place in Britain on Sunday, both had time to reflect on an unforgettable afternoon.

Doyle said: “It was a great day. I would have been pleased just for all the horses to run well, so to ride two winners was brilliant.

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“Trueshan was very impressive, and to get off to a start like that fills you with plenty of confidence for the rest of the day.

“I didn’t think Glen Shiel had won, so it was a big shock when he was called as the winner.”

Hollie Doyle was in shock after victory aboard Glen Shiel
Hollie Doyle was in shock after victory aboard Glen Shiel (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Doyle is just as thrilled for Marquand as she is for herself, adding: “It was brilliant for Tom to win the Champion Stakes, especially with it being on Addeybb, who has been such a flagbearer for Tom. He’s a well-travelled horse, who is just getting better and better.

“We went out for dinner on the way back from racing, so that was nice.

“Today is the first day of no Flat racing in a very long time, so we’re just chilling out and taking advantage of that.”

Marquand won two Group Ones in Australia aboard Addeybb earlier in the year, and is full of praise for his trainer William Haggas after producing him to win a first top-level prize on home soil.

Addeybb and Tom Marquand (left) landed the Qipco Champion Stakes
Addeybb and Tom Marquand (left) landed the Qipco Champion Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He said: “It was unbelievable. Addeybb has done wonders for my career already, so to go and win on Champions Day was incredible.

“William has had the race as a long-term goal, and it was a masterclass in training. Taking him to Australia, bringing him back and having this race as his target and pulling it off – it’s hard to comprehend, to be honest.

“It’s the Champion Stakes and one of the hardest races of the year to win. You had Magical and other champions in there. We knew we had a top horse in Addeybb – but you can’t say you’re confident, going up against horses like that.

“We were looking forward to running and hoped he would put his best foot forward, but in your heart of hearts you can’t help but think it’s near on mission impossible trying to beat horses like that. How lucky we are to come across a horse that can do what he’s done.”

Marquand admitted the the scale of both his and Doyle’s achievement is still sinking in.

He said: “After racing we got in the car and looked at each other and started laughing – it’s ridiculous really.

“You couldn’t have written the day any better. We are both so lucky to be in the position we’re in.

“Unintentionally, I guess, we’re pushing each other. We both have similar goals and things we want to achieve. We’ve got each other’s entire and full backing, which has to make a difference.

“We never get a day off together, so today couldn’t have fallen any better. We’re just chilling out and enjoying it.”

Hollie Doyle leaves lasting impression on unforgettable Champions Day

Hollie Doyle made her mark on an unforgettable Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot with a double that included the first Group One triumph of her career.

Glen Shiel gave the record-breaking 24-year-old that landmark success when just holding on for glory in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

Doyle and connections of the Archie Watson-trained six-year-old had a few anxious moments waiting for the result of the photo-finish, before it was confirmed Glen Shiel (16-1) had beaten Brando by a nose.

The epic success by the narrowest of margins capped a momentous week in another season to remember for Doyle, for it was only on Wednesday she broke her own record for number of winners by a female rider in a calendar year.

“It is a dream come true, a massive dream come true, especially on this horse. Everyone in the yard adores him,” said Doyle, who at Windsor in August became the first female jockey to ride five winners at a single meeting.

“My aim at the start of the year was to ride a Group winner and I always said a Group One one day, but I didn’t think it would come this year.

“I don’t get too carried away, but I’m a bit delusional as to what is going on at the moment as it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. It has been a great few years.

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“It feels really unusual as for someone like me it doesn’t normally happen, but it has done today.

“I’m in a state of shock right now. I didn’t think I’d won, so to have had the result we have was incredible.”

She added: “It’s not about me it’s about Archie Watson, he has campaigned this horse unbelievably. No one else would have won a Group One with this horse.”

It was only 35 minutes earlier she had become the first female to ride a winner on British Champions Day with an easy victory in the opening Long Distance Cup on Trueshan (11-1).

Leading over a furlong out, Alan King’s stayer stormed away from the opposition to score by seven and a half lengths from Search For A Song.

“That was incredible, I travelled all over them. He doesn’t like being crowded, so I switched him at the three-pole and the further I went, the better,” said Doyle.

Hollie Doyle opens her British Champions Day account on Trueshan (left) in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot
Hollie Doyle opens her British Champions Day account on Trueshan (left) in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“This is a proper horse, he won his first two starts. I’ve always liked him – but I’m not going to lie, I didn’t realise he would be up to Group Two level like today.

“The further I was going, the better. He was tanking with me and he went through the ground like a tractor.

“The pace was reasonable, but he was travelling and he felt like he was hacking round there. I switched my fellow round horses as they said he didn’t like getting crowded in the Ebor and when I pushed the button, he responded.”

A remarkable hat-trick looked on the cards when she went out to partner Dame Malliot in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

But as hard as they tried, Doyle and her mount had to play second fiddle to Wonderful Tonight and William Buick.

Thumbs up from Hollie Doyle's partner Tom Marquand after his win on Addeybb in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot
Thumbs up from Hollie Doyle’s partner Tom Marquand after his win on Addeybb in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Doyle lost nothing in defeat in the biggest race on the card, the Qipco Champion Stakes, as she steered Roger Charlton’s 33-1 outsider Extra Elusive into a creditable sixth place.

However, she would have taken pride in the outcome as the winner, Addeybb, was ridden by her partner, Tom Marquand.

Fittingly, the couple fought out the finish of the concluding Balmoral Handicap, with Marquand landing the spoils on Njord and Doyle second on Solid Stone as they ended the day all square with two winners each.

Doyle said at the conclusion of a remarkable afternoon: “It has been incredible and you wouldn’t have called it. We both came here with a few chances, but in Group Ones and races like that you need a bit of luck. It has exceeded all expectations.

“Tom really liked Addeybb today and I think that is the icing on the cake, for the horse to win a Group One in England. I thought Dame Malliot was my best chance, but I just bumped into a good one there. Glen Shiel was incredible.

“It feels really special as we are the younger generation and we are probably two of the youngest people to have ridden four winners on Champions Day out of six races.

“We are going for a meal around here somewhere which will be nice. I’m not sure who is paying, we will have to go half and half!”

Njord seals day to remember for Tom Marquand

Tom Marquand completed a Qipco British Champions Day double at Ascot with victory on Irish challenger Njord in the Balmoral Handicap.

Having taken the Champion Stakes through Addeybb, Marquand struck on Jessica Harrington’s runner to emulate his partner Hollie Doyle who also enjoyed a big-race double.

Fittingly, it was Doyle who was Marquand’s closest pursuer as she chased Njord (15-2) home on Solid Stone.

Raeeq, the 11-4 favourite, made the running on the far side with Solid Stone close up. Marquand bided his time and came with a telling run in the final furlong to run out a cosy winner. Greenside was third and Graignes fourth.

Marquand said: “Success makes everything feel a bit easier and I guess, as many sportspeople will tell you, confidence is the key to having more success. I guess that’s probably a prime example of it.

“Jessica sent him over and he is in good form. He has run a few big races and both she and Shane Foley said that he would absolutely love the ground. I actually took a pull on him at the two-pole because I thought I was going to get there too soon.

“Fortunately, with races like that, luck was on our side. We were drawn over on the right side with the favourites and it fell absolutely perfect for him.

“Jessica booked me for her lighter horse in the race and he ended up not running and I ended up landing on this lad. She has sent over good few runners this year and I have been really lucky to be sat on them.

“I have to thank her for the opportunities because we have had a little bit of success without striking. She is an incredible trainer – she has sent over a Champions Day winner, so well done to her and the team.”

He added: “I booked a table last night up the road, so we will go for a bit of dinner and probably sit there smiling for a couple of hours!”

Addeybb just Champion at Ascot for Haggas and Marquand

Addeybb overcame his wide draw to get his revenge on Magical in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Beaten into second place by Aidan O’Brien’s brilliant mare last year, Addeybb turned the tables with a dominant display.

Tom Marquand made his intentions clear by galvanising William Haggas’ six-year-old straight from the stalls to get a good position.

It worked, with Addeybb – a dual Group One winner in Australia in the spring – on the heels of the pace-setting Serpentine before being given the office by Marquand to go and win the race.

Addeybb (9-1) was quickly challenged in the straight by Skalleti (13-2), but managed to shrug off the French raider and win by two and a quarter lengths.

Magical (15-8 favourite) was another half a length back in third, without looking like getting to the winner.

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Marquand said: “Honestly what a credit to Safid (Alam, groom), William and Maureen (Haggas) and the whole team at home. He’s gone to Australia, he conquered Down Under and now he’s come back and he deserved that Group One here so much.”

Marquand is the partner of Hollie Doyle, and added of her achievements on the day she rode a Champions Day double, including her first ever Group One: “I’m so, so proud of her. All she does is get up every day and graft and to ride her first Group One for Archie Watson is brilliant, because he’s played such a big part, but also for Alan King because he’s played a big part for both of us in the last few years.

“Our first Royal Ascot winners were for him and he’s had a cracking year. There’s no one, genuinely no one, who deserves it more.”

Haggas said of his one-time Lincoln Handicap winner: “He is a special horse for us and has done lots of things we can only dream of. The Australia thing was so fantastic because he had never actually won a Group One.

“I think the first time we put cheekpieces on him in the Wolferton last year he put up a pretty smart performance to beat Elarqam and Magic Wand in a Listed race. Ever since then he has been either first or second in top company. He likes the ground and goes well fresh.

Celebration time for Tom Marquand
Celebration time for Tom Marquand (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“It seems a bit ridiculous to take him to Ayr to run in a Listed race (in preparation for Ascot), but actually it was a nice thing for him as we could give him a month between there and here. He looked imperious in the Lincoln that day (2018) over a mile, but he loves it fresh so we try keep him fresh. He was fresh going into Australia.

“We always hoped he had it in him. Personally I couldn’t see Magical being beaten, as I thought she beat us comprehensively last year, although not by very far. I was frightened the ground had dried too much today, but it was pretty horrible and he loves it when it is horrible.

“He is at his best when there is an inspection in the morning and it passes and as Tom said it feels like good ground on him. Tom said in the first one he won in Australia it was English good ground and no softer than that. He is pretty versatile, but he is deadly on this ground.

“We (Haggas and wife Maureen) watched him together and he never looked like being beaten. I know that sounds awfully arrogant, but if you watched him the whole way round he was in the perfect position and he was able to get a breath coming into the straight and when he said ‘go’, he went.”

I’ve no doubt he will be champion one day

He added of Marquand: “Tom is a young guy that has his girlfriend kicking him up the backside every day, but he is a very personable, strong rider that has done very well. He has got a hell of a future. I’ve no doubt he will be champion one day.

“All these jockeys and trainers want to be competing on these days and races like this. He has got there very early on in his career and good luck to him and he will do really well. I hope it is with us, but if it is not, it’s not.

“He will do really well in the future as he is a top-class guy and rider.”

Marquand reaches century of winners at Haydock

Tom Marquand reached 100 winners for the Flat season with victory aboard Holbache at Haydock on Friday.

Marquand, who sits in third place behind title-holder Oisin Murphy and William Buick in the race to be champion, was delighted to reach the landmark in a successful campaign that has seen him win his first domestic Classic on Galileo Chrome in the St Leger.

“It’s been pretty mad. Obviously it’s been a strange year,” he told Racing TV.

“Last year I finished the championship on 90 and that was starting from the Guineas so, relatively speaking, going into Champions Day getting to 100 has bettered last year by a good way.

“We’ve still got another month to the championship, so hopefully there’s a few more to be had.”

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Holbache looked a reformed customer after being tricky earlier in the year when he crashed through the rails at Windsor with Marquand aboard.

Successful at Chepstow last month, Tony Carroll’s youngster put his best foot forward to make all the running in the Join Racing TV Now Nursery Handicap and hold Prospect by a neck at odds of 4-1.

“He was a bit of a tricky customer before. I probably found the wrong end of him at Windsor when I cantered to the start going pretty quickly,” he said.

“Tony has done a great job with him, straightening him out. He won at Chepstow and he’s won again, so he’s certainly on the right path.”

Brentford Hope got back on track with a cosy victory under top weight in the Get Daily Tips At racingtv.com Handicap.

The Richard Hughes-trained three-year-old had not lived up to expectations in three starts this term, following an impressive debut success at Newmarket last October on his sole start as a juvenile.

However, the son of Camelot redeemed himself on his second outing since being gelded with a cheeky success in the hands of Jamie Spencer.

The 9-4 favourite toyed with the opposition before going on in the closing stages to score by three-quarters of a length from Mascat.

“He was a bit more focused today. He travelled strongly even though I was sat up in third. At any stage of the race, I could have gone and taken the leader on,” Spencer told Racing TV.

“The ground is important to him, but you’d have to be impressed with that.

“Richard has been very complimentary about his work. At home he says you can work him with five/six furlong horses and have no problem laying up with them.

“Obviously you have his pedigree as a guide – he’s out of a mile-and-a-half winner (and) by Camelot, so you’d have thought two miles, not one mile.

“It’s only a guide. The animal is a lot quicker than you’d give him credit for.

“He’s always been quite a good horse – and since he’s been gelded, he’s been a lot more relaxed. Hopefully he’ll be a nice horse for next year.”

Marquand hails ‘remarkable’ Doyle after record-breaking success

Tom Marquand has hailed Hollie Doyle’s achievement of setting a second successive record of winners in a calendar year for a female jockey as “remarkable”.

Doyle partnered her 117th winner of 2020 at Kempton on Wednesday night and her partner Marquand, who has himself enjoyed a stellar year in gaining his first Classic in the St Leger on Galileo Chrome, believes the best is yet to come.

“I can’t imagine there are more than four or five other jockeys that are over 100 winners for the year so far. It is remarkable,” he said.

Tom Marquand stepped in for the spare ride on Galileo Chrome in the St Leger
Tom Marquand stepped in for the spare ride on Galileo Chrome in the St Leger (Alan Crowhurst/PA)
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“She was hoping that by staying for the winter she would be able to carry that momentum through, but then stopping racing for nearly three months completely knocked that on the head and we were both sat at home thinking ‘what is going to happen when racing gets going again?’.

“Neither of us were retained at the time and we weren’t sure how it would go once racing started, as we thought it would favour the retained jockeys with the one meeting a day rule as they would be able to pick and choose their rides, but she has just come out the gates flying.

“She has continually gone winner after winner. She has hit personal landmarks as well, after riding her first Group winner and becoming the first women jockey to ride a five-timer in Britain. Even this record largely goes over her head.

“Her main worry was that not many people can back up riding 100 winners in a year time and time again, and she has shown this year that she has not only been able to do that, but she has obliterated it.

“It is a credit to her grafting and nothing else. There are no secret tricks going on behind the scenes. She is just riding out every day, going racing and turning up in the best shape she can. She is in a great position as she has a fantastic job with Archie (Watson) and with Imad Al Sagar (retained owner).

“Her career is building hand over fist at the moment. She turned 24 on Sunday and relatively speaking, you would like to think there is a good chunk of her career left to be able to achieve a lot more. This is a massive achievement and hopefully a sign of things to come.”

Marquand and Addeybb primed for Champion Stakes glory

Tom Marquand has already enjoyed plenty of memorable moments in the saddle this year and Addeybb will bid to give him another on Saturday in the Qipco Champion Stakes.

For some 2020 cannot end soon enough – but for Marquand, who this season has landed a first Classic victory aboard Galileo Chrome in the St Leger and a breakthrough Royal Ascot success, it could be about to become even better.

Having steered the William Haggas-trained Pivotal gelding to a brace of Group One victories in Australia earlier this year, the 22-year-old will attempt to guide the six-year-old to further top-level glory in the mile-and-a-quarter prize at Ascot.

Though Addeybb, who finished second in the race 12 months ago, is yet to score in his four previous outings in Group One company in Britain, Marquand believes he has every chance of changing that statistic at the weekend.

Addeybb (yellow colours) chased Magical home 12 months ago
Addeybb (yellow colours) chased Magical home 12 months ago (Simon Cooper/PA)

Marquand said: “He is a dual Group One winner, but British racing probably thinks he is a horse that can’t win a Group One over here which is a shame.

“He bumped into Magical at Ascot in the race last year and if you can run three-quarters (of a length) second to something like that, you are a solid Group One horse.

“Hopefully this is his go at giving it a proper shot. What will be will be, but hopefully he can put his best foot forward and run his heart out.

“It is going to be an ultra-competitive race, as it should be, but what a great ride to have in the race.”

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While Addeybb appeared to make hard work of landing a Listed contest at Ayr last time out, Marquand is far from concerned about the performance.

He said: “He was giving weight away to horses like Lord Glitters, and he is no mug – he has won a Group One. It’s a hard thing.

“I was speaking to Harry Eustace, who looked after him in Australia, on the morning of the race and I said I would probably still have to give him a couple of flicks and that he wouldn’t go through with it on the bridle and win, because that is just not him.

“Lo and behold he came off the bridle at the three pole and looked in trouble, but I gave him a couple of flicks and he just stuck his head down and went through with it.”

Tom Marquand is confident William Haggas will have Addeybb in perfect order for his latest Group One assignment (Nigel French/PA)
Tom Marquand is confident William Haggas will have Addeybb in perfect order for his latest Group One assignment (Nigel French/PA)

With that outing expected to have put Addeybb spot on for his Group One return, and conditions in his favour, Marquand has every right to be hopeful.

He said: “You would like to think he is spot on and William has had a few years of practice with him in getting him ready for certain days and he has pretty much nailed that.

“Hopefully we get a sensible draw and the ground we want, then after that it is on him. I think he is a horse that deserves to win a Group One in Britain.”

Starman will be pitched into Group One company for the first time at Ascot on Saturday (Mark Cranham/PA)
Starman will be pitched into Group One company for the first time at Ascot on Saturday (Mark Cranham/PA)

Marquand will look to strengthen his partnership with Ed Walker-trained Starman when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Qipco British Champions Sprint.

He said: “He has had a flawless career so far, he is three from three and very exciting.

“I think he has surprised a lot of people. He only just scraped home at Lingfield, but I got off him and I was convinced he was nice and only going through the motions.

“He wouldn’t want the ground too soft, but he will go there regardless. He is on an upward curve and it is certainly worth a try to see if he can continue it.”

With Starman having successfully taken the step up to Listed company in his stride last time out at York, Marquand believes it was an effort that can be upgraded given things conspired against him

He added: “His last run was particularly impressive. He put it to them in a very competitive Listed race at York, beating Dakota Gold who is a fair yardstick.

“Everything went wrong for us there, but he still managed to come out on top being relatively inexperienced.

“Hopefully he is the sort of horse that can step up and be on the sprinting scene for the next couple of years.”

Victory for Starman would be particularly sweet for Marquand, with it coming less than four months after losing the ride aboard his stablemate English King in the Derby.

He said: “It is nice for Ed, as he had all the excitement with English King earlier in the year and that never really materialised and it is great he has such another exciting horse come along so quickly to back up in the same year.

“It was never an issue losing the ride on English King, I get on great with Ed and we’ve had plenty of winners in between and hopefully I will have a few more.”

Nahaarr swoops late to secure Ayr Gold

Nahaarr came from the clouds to claim a last-gasp victory in a thrilling renewal of the QTS Ayr Gold Cup.

The lightly-raced son of Dark Angel was a runaway winner at Newbury in July before finishing ninth when favourite for the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood.

A well backed 7-2 market leader to gain compensation in another fiercely-competitive sprint handicap in Scotland, the William Haggas-trained four-year-old was travelling strongly but still well back in the field racing inside the final two furlongs.

However, once given a reminder by last week’s St Leger-winning jockey Tom Marquand, Nahaarr swiftly went through the gears and went into overdrive – finishing with a rare rattle to get up and beat Spanish City in the dying strides.

Mr Lupton – a winner in Ireland last Sunday – was third, ahead of Soldier’s Minute in fourth.

Haggas was completing a big-race double on the card, following the earlier success of stable star Addeybb in the Doonside Cup.

William Haggas enjoyed an excellent afternoon at Ayr
William Haggas enjoyed an excellent afternoon at Ayr (Nigel French/PA)

Speaking from his home in Newmarket, Haggas said: “It’s been a good day. We had 15 seconds in about a week and six of those were beaten a short head, so we deserved a bit of luck and thankfully we’ve got it today.”

Of Nahaarr, he added: “I watched him the whole way, obviously.

“He missed the break, which I think was a deliberate tactic as Tom felt he raced a bit freely at Goodwood and he didn’t want that to happen again today.

“I think he would have been an unlucky loser if he hadn’t won. I’m not sure what we’ll do with him now. I’m just pleased things have gone well for him today.”