Another day to remember for jockey Tom Marquand as he lands Gold Cup as part of Ayr treble

Tom Marquand's golden summer now includes an Ayr Gold Cup.Tom Marquand's golden summer now includes an Ayr Gold Cup.
Tom Marquand's golden summer now includes an Ayr Gold Cup.
TOM MARQUAND’S golden summer continued when Naharr came from the clouds to claim a last-gasp victory in a thrilling renewal of the QTS Ayr Gold Cup.

The win was the centrepiece of another high-profile 51-1 treble for the in-form jockey just a week after he won Doncaster’s St Leger – his first Classic – on Galileo Chrome.

The William Haggas-trained four-year-old was travelling strongly but still well back in the field racing inside the final two furlongs at Ayr.

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However, once given a reminder, Nahaarr swiftly went through the gears and went into overdrive – finishing with a rare rattle to get up and beat Spanish City in the dying strides. Mr Lupton – a winner in Ireland last Sunday – was third, ahead of Soldier’s Minute in fourth.

Tom Marquand's exploits at Ayr came a week after landing the St Leger at Doncaster on Galileo Chrome.Tom Marquand's exploits at Ayr came a week after landing the St Leger at Doncaster on Galileo Chrome.
Tom Marquand's exploits at Ayr came a week after landing the St Leger at Doncaster on Galileo Chrome.

“A seven-hour drive to ride horses like this is more of a pleasure than a chore,” enthused Marquand.

“It’s been a cracking week. I’m lucky to get the right opportunities. I can’t stress enough how lucky I am to be getting all of them.

“It’s a tough game, there’s a lot of people trying to achieve the same thing and I’m relatively young and new to it all. It’s a tough job and when the good days come you’ve got to cherish them.

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“In races like this you have to bide your time and hope for a bit of luck and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work.

“But William has taught me how to ride on the bigger days – in the Stewards’ Cup on this lad I probably sat a bit too close and I learned my lesson that day.”

Marquand and Haggas also teamed up to land the Doonside Cup with dual Group One winner Addeybb who was conceding weight to his rivals – next month’s Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot is the target.

“That race has done exactly as I guess William would have hoped,” added the winning rider who later took the mile handicap on Johan for the Haggas team on a day that they won’t forget.

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“I don’t think he quite realised he was back at the races until the two-pole.

But he’s a dual Group 1 winner, he had to give a lot of weight away to a couple of decent horses and he’s done it as well as we can have expected to do so.”

Meanwhile, Elarqam got his career back on track with a front-running victory in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup at Newbury.

A son of Frankel out of the yard’s brilliant racemare Attraction, Mark Johnston’s horse has largely upheld family honour well, with Group Three and Group Two triumphs featuring among his five previous career wins.

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However, since a promising start to the season when touched off by Lord North at Haydock, the five-year-old has disappointed in both the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and when bidding for back-to-back successes in the York Stakes.

Jim Crowley’s mount led his three rivals from the off and enjoyed an untroubled race for Middleham-based Johnston.

“It is great to see him back winning,” said the trainer. “With a pedigree like his, you would expect to see him get a Group One for a good stud job. I’m sure he will get a good stud job, but we want to see him get a good one, that is why it has been frustrating.

“I don’t know what we do now to be honest. I just wanted to get another win back under his belt, but we are running out of opportunities.”

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Tim Easterby is eyeing a return to Ascot for his star sprinter Art Power.

The grey son of Dark Angel looked every inch a top-class sprinter in the making when dominating his rivals in handicap company at the Royal meeting in June – his fourth win from his first five starts.

He finished a disappointing sixth when well fancied for the Nunthorpe at York last month, but shaped better when fourth in the Sprint Cup at Haydock on his latest appearance.

The Qipco British Champions Sprint on October 17 is next on Art Power’s agenda.

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Great Habton-based Easterby said: “He’s in good shape – he came out of Haydock well I was very happy with how he ran at Haydock and it will be Ascot next for him, all being well. He’ll be a better horse next year as he’s still got some strengthening up to do.”

Warwick officials have spoken of the “massive undertaking” in preparation for the crowd pilot at today’s meeting.

The jumps track will welcome 500 people as part of a Government-backed trial event. Since racing resumed on June 1 following the coronavirus shutdown in mid-March, only Doncaster has been able to allow racegoers in – but that lasted one day after the local council pulled the plug due to an increase in Covid-19 cases.

“It’s been an incredible challenge to get this event up and running,” said racecourse manager Andre Klein.