Tom Marquand considers himself “pretty fortunate” to be riding in Australia in light of the recent cancellation of racing in Britain due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The leading jockey had enjoyed a hugely productive winter campaign when plying his trade Down Under – and while he returned to Britain a few weeks ago, he jetted back in Australia late last week, enjoying a Group Three success at Rosehill on Saturday.
While his colleagues at home, including girlfriend Hollie Doyle, are facing up to several weeks out of action after the British Horseracing Authority’s decision to close shop until the end of April, Marquand can look forward to some high-profile rides this weekend.
Marquand told Sky Sports Racing: “I’ve been pretty fortunate with timing – the stars have sort of aligned a little bit.
“The day I flew over, 24 hours later Australia introduced a two-week quarantine to anyone who comes in on an international flight, so I dodged that. And obviously now, we’ve had the pretty devastating news that English racing is called off for the foreseeable future.
“Obviously I speak with Hollie a lot. Waking up to the news of racing being cancelled, I was pretty surprised, (but) I suppose the public’s health is the main priority and the stress the NHS is under is paramount to what happens.
“We’re a very large industry and there’ll be a lot of people to support. Hopefully it’s for the best long-term for everyone.”
Marquand’s upcoming mounts at Rosehill include the William Haggas-trained Addeybb, who bids for Group One glory in Saturday’s Ranvet Stakes, and his stablemate Young Rascal in the Group Three Manion Cup on the same card.
Winner of the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer, Addeybb was last seen pushing Aidan O’Brien’s top-class filly Magical all the way in the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.
Marquand said: “Addeybb has got extremely good form – and to be getting a strongly-fancied ride in a Group One for William Haggas aboard is a pretty incredible position to be in.
“I went over and saw both horses the other day and they look in great order and seem to have travelled pretty well.
“Both horses will definitely go with cut in the ground and they’ve both got the class to be here.
“The QEII in April is the plan for Addeybb and Young Rascal is aiming for the Sydney Cup on the same day.”
The rider looks set for an extended stay in Australia in light of events at home.
He added: “I’m purely going to go off the latest news that’s coming through. So long as there’s Australian racing, I guess there’s not an awful lot of point in coming back prematurely as I’m not coming back to ride, because nothing is happening in the UK.
“The plan was to come back on April 11, after the QEII and Sydney Cup, so I guess I’ll just keep reviewing that plan every morning.”