Racing

Double each for golden couple

Group 1 victories among Marquand and girlfriend Doyle's doubles on British Champions Day at Ascot

Tom Marquand and his girlfriend, Hollie Doyle, celebrated a memorable British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.

Each won a Group 1 race from their doubles.

Marquand rode Addeybb to an impressive win in the Champion Stakes, improving on his mount's second place last year. Doyle won her first Group 1 on Glen Shiel in the Champion Sprint Stakes.

Marquand also scored on Njord in the Balmoral Handicap, with Doyle finishing second on Solid Stone.

"Ridiculous, how could you write that?" said Marquand. "You can call it a happy house tonight."

Doyle's other winner came in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup on Trueshan, who coasted home by 71/2 lengths.

Three-time Gold Cup winner Stradivarius finished second last. His disappointing run epitomised a rare bad day for the formidable team of trainer John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.

Their odds-on favourite Palace Pier lost a shoe in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes but did well to finish third behind French raider The Revenant.

The winner - like Addeybb in the Champion Stakes - had finished second the previous year.

"You can't win a race on three wheels," said Dettori ruefully, of Palace Pier's misfortune.

The 49-year-old Italian was well beaten on the fancied Mishriff in the Champions Stakes.

Marquand yelled with joy on passing the line, but kept his emotions in check better than he had at the start of the season with two Group 1 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' 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 1 up here so much."

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, as spectators are barred due to the coronavirus protocols.

"This 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." - AFP

HORSE RACING