Tom Marquand will head to Australia on a high next week after riding 100 winners in a year for the first time with Saturday’s double at Wolverhampton.
The talented young jockey is hoping the six weeks he will spend with Sydney-based trainer John O’Shea will set him up for another successful time on the domestic scene in 2019.
“I’m looking forward to going out to Australia and just want to ride a few winners and come back in the new year fresh and well – and hope I’ve learnt a bit,” said Marquand.
“I hope it will be a successful trip, and I’ll come back a bit better and ready to go again.
“It will be different having Christmas dinner on the beach! I’m managing to see my family before I go.”
Marquand was both proud and relieved to hit the century with his double on The Night Watch and Original Choice for trainer William Haggas.
“We were hoping two thirds through the season we might get there. But time was running out, because I’m going away next week, so it was nice to have a double for William Haggas of all trainers,” said Marquand.
“I had my family there at Wolverhampton, which was nice as well.”
Marquand’s rise has been some achievement, because it was only in 2014 he rode his first winner. He was champion apprentice the following year, with 54 winners, and also made the top three for the BBC’s Young Sports Personality of the Year award.
“Three years ago I was champion apprentice. I lost my claim in the middle of the next season, so it’s only been two and a half years since then,” he said.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for all the help I’ve had.”
Marquand’s career has gone from strength to strength, with his century of winners in 2018 coming from more than 950 rides for 120 different trainers.
“I’ve been lucky,” he said.
“I’ve had a couple of nice winners. Oh This Is Us in Dubai probably kicked started the season – it was my first winner at the Carnival.
“I rode Anna Nerium to win a Group Three at Goodwood too.
“I’ve had almost 1000 rides this year – but you need the nice winners.
“The boss (Richard Hannon) has been very good the whole way through. I’ve been riding for Mr Haggas this season and I was lucky the other day to ride a winner (Clematis) for owner Khalid Abdullah, trained by Charlie Hills.
“The smaller trainers with the smaller winners have been just as influential.
“It’s gone better than I’d hoped. I was lucky to pick up a good sponsor this year in Markel, and my agent (Sash Righton) has been great. He’s been instrumental in making every thing work and keeping me busy.
“It’s surpassed my expectations, what has happened since I lost my claim.”
Having reached three figures, Marquand’s target for 2019 is at least to repeat that feat.
“Now I’ve ridden a 100 winners I want to do the same, or else I’d be considered a failure!” he said.
“Obviously that’s the main target, but big winners are what I want to be about as well – and try to ride some nice horses.”