Marquand eyeing Group One double at Newmarket
Tom Marquand has his sights set on what would be a memorable Group One double at Newmarket this weekend.
The prolific Relief Rally takes her chance in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes, followed soon after by Lake Forest in the Middle Park.
Both juveniles are trained by William Haggas and both are fresh from Group-race victories at the Ebor meeting, where Relief Rally landed the Lowther Stakes and Lake Forest was a slightly more surprising winner of the Gimcrack.
Their big-race jockey said: “Relief Rally has been foot-perfect all season. She is a little battler and has the ability to go with it which is great. I’m looking forward to the weekend as it would be her big opportunity to get a well-deserved Group One on the board.
“Realistically, she probably has to take another little step forward as there are other fillies who will be progressing at the end of the year, but it is a step, not a leap.
“She has been super versatile everywhere we have gone with her. The way she has done everything else I can’t imagine the track will be a problem. If she takes a small step forward she should be putting up a big performance and that should be enough to win.”
He added: “If she does train on it would be absolutely fantastic as she has not had a killer year where you have emptied the tank.
“She has had every opportunity to have some big dances, and this would be the biggest of them all.
“With fast two-year-olds you have to enjoy them in the moment and ultimately she has given us a great season.
“If it backs up to nothing else then so be it, but you can always look back with great fondness as there are not many that can go to those big festival meetings and perform as well as she has.”
In contrast to Relief Rally obliging as the 2-1 favourite at York, Lake Forest was sent on his way at 16-1 for the Gimcrack, having been beaten at 1-3 previously at Newmarket.
Marquand said: “He flashed what he could do up at Haydock on his first start and the July Stakes at Newmarket was similar.
“Getting beat in the novice was the curveball that probably made him completely unfancied in the Gimcrack, but if you went back to that July Stakes form, you probably had to think he was not too far away from having a really good shout in it.
“It is going to be an extremely tough race and there are those horses that are proven at the top level already, but he is a Gimcrack winner, and you have to be a pretty good horse to do that and hopefully he can continue on that path.”
Before Saturday, Marquand has a high-profile ride to look forward to on Friday with the return of Maljoom in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Joel Stakes.
The Caravaggio colt has not been seen since finishing an unlucky fourth in last year’s St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“It is great to have Maljoom back on a racecourse. He was an extremely exciting horse but didn’t have things go his way and unfortunately he found a few bumps in the road,” he said.
“I jumped on him the other morning and he felt great. He has been off the track for a long time and you worry he might be a bit rusty, but he feels and looks great and everyone is happy with him.
“Hopefully he can make a good reappearance and show us what he showed before and get back on the right road.
“William had a couple of options for him, but he chose this for a reason, and it looks a good starting place. Hopefully it will be a good gauge as to where he is and what we do in the future with him.
“Fingers crossed this next chapter in his book can be a bit longer than the last one and he can have a clear run at it all.”
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox