07 December 2021

Tom Marquand reunites with David Hayes in International Jockeys’ Championship

07 December 2021

Australian trainer David Hayes is hoping for a successful reunion with Tom Marquand through Awesome Treasure in the first leg of the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

Marquand was temporarily based at Hayes’ Lindsay Park property in rural Victoria on his first Australian visit in 2019.

“Tom came down to Australia for his apprenticeship and he rode a few winners for my stable down there,” said Hayes.

He is optimistic Awesome Treasure, who ran second on his only start, can get Marquand off to a flying start in the five-furlong handicap.

“He led on debut and he was a bit disadvantaged that day with the wind the way it was. Not many held on and he nearly did,” said Hayes.

“He’s a very promising horse with a bright future and he’s now fully recovered from a minor leg injury and he’s basically first-up again.

“He’s got nice speed and he’s trialled twice at the Valley, so I thought this would be a nice race for him.”

Marquand’s rides in the other three legs of the competition are Jolly Honour, Wealthy Delight and Seven Heavens.

Record-breaker Hollie Doyle, who is Marquand’s fiancée, takes part in the competition for the second time, having become the first woman ride a winner in the series and finished joint third on her debut in 2020. She teams up with Trust Me, Viva Hunter, Presence and Winning Method this year.

Ryan Moore also contests the IJC having won in 2009 in a three-way tie and followed up in 2010. He rides Meridian Genius, AI One, Golden Link and Hong Kong Bet.

Australian rider Damian Lane hopes to capitalise on a strong book of rides on his first appearance in the competition.

Reflecting on the chances of Flying High, Dr Winning, Gallant Crown and California Cible, Lane agreed he had fared well in terms of ride allocation.

“I’m just very privileged to be part of the IJC. It’s the first time I’ve competed in this series and I’ve got some really nice rides and I’m really looking forward to competing in it,” said Lane, who feels California Cible in leg four has a winning chance.

“He’s drawn a touch tricky (gate nine) but he looks to be improving all the time since he’s been here in Hong Kong, which is a big plus,” he said.

New Zealand-born James McDonald, on the crest of a wave after winning the Melbourne Cup on Very Elleegant, is also excited about what might unfold at Happy Valley.

“It’s a meeting that we love competing at, I’ve had a little bit of luck over the years and I definitely wasn’t going to miss it,” said McDonald, who rides Wild West Wing, Sacred Ibis, Invincible Missile and Ginson.

“We’ll need a bit of luck with the barriers for sure but they look an even bunch of rides and so hopefully we get a bit of luck in the run and they’ll be figuring in the finish.”

Alexis Badel, Mickael Barzalona, Lyle Hewitson, Vincent Ho, Yuga Kawada, Joao Moreira and Zac Purton complete the list of 12 riders taking part in the points-based competition which offers HK$500,000 to the winner.

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