Racing's golden couple light up Champions Day
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London (AFP) –
Tom Marquand and girlfriend Hollie Doyle celebrated a memorable British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday both riding doubles with the former winning the feature Champion Stakes.
Marquand rode Addeybb to an impressive win, improving on his mount's second place last year, whilst Doyle had begun the day with her brace of victories.
Marquand levelled it at 2-2 when he rode the winner of the last the Balmoral Handicap... Doyle finishing second.
"Ridiculous how could you write that?" grinned Marquand.
"You can call it a happy house tonight!"
Doyle rounded off a dream week -- she had eclipsed her own record for wins in a season by a female jockey on Wednesday -- with her first Group One win on Glen Shiel in the Sprint.
She had started the day by landing the Long Distance Cup coasting to victory by 7 1/2 lengths on Trueshan with the three-time Gold Cup winner Stradivarius finishing second last.
His disappointing run epitomised a rare bad day at the track for the powerhouse team of trainer John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.
Their odds-on favourite Palace Pier lost a shoe in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and did well to finish third behind French raider The Revenant.
The winner -- like Addeybb in the Champion Stakes -- had finished second in the previous year's race.
"You can't win a race on three wheels," said Dettori ruefully of Palace Pier's misfortune.
The 49-year-old Italian also played a bit part role as his fancied Mishriff finished well behind Addeybb.
Marquand yelled with joy on passing the line but kept his emotions in check better than he had while beginning the season with two Group One wins in Australia.
The 22-year-old was fined by the Australian stewards for hugging stable lad Safid Alam after one of the wins, ignoring the coronavirus social distancing protocols.
On Saturday their faces were wreathed in smiles but they kept their hands to themselves -- though Marquand got a hug from trainer William Haggas's wife Maureen.
“Honestly what a credit to Safid (Alam), William and Maureen and the whole team at home," said Marquand.
"He's gone to Australia, he conquered Down Under and now he's come back up and he deserved that Group One up here so much."
- 'A massive one' -
Haggas -- son-in-law of riding legend Lester Piggott -- has not been well of late and relied on Alam telling him what sort of shape Addeybb was in.
"Credit to my team at home and to Safid in particular, who dotes on this horse," said Haggas.
"Safid, who rides him every day, said this morning that he would win and that he was really on form."
Doyle returned on Glen Shiel to perhaps the biggest cheers of the day from the few allowed to be present as spectators are barred due to the coronavirus protocols.
Trainer Archie Watson, though, was not there applauding as he had decided to move house and amidst the unpacking of boxes watched from his new abode.
"This for me is a dream come true," said Doyle.
"This is a massive one especially on this horse everyone adores him but even I doubted it would be today of all days to win this."
The Revenant's trainer Francis-Henri Graffard was not the only French handler to taste success as England-based David Menuisier recorded his first English Group One victory.
William Buick guided home Menuisier's Wonderful Tonight -- owned by Chrysalis Music founder Chris Wright -- in the Fillies and Mares Stakes with Doyle second.
An energised Menuisier had flicked his hand in a whip like action as Buick surged for the line.
"I am speechless, absolutely speechless!" said Menuisier.
"I am so tired, I think I pushed harder than William!
"She is a champion."
© 2020 AFP