|They are the dream team in English racing, and they too have realised that Asia is where the future of racing lies: Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle, both jockeys on the island, have big plans, which they outlined in an interview with the Racing Post, they will spend two months riding in Japan. It will be the first trip to Japan for the pair, having competed in the last two International Jockeys` Championships in Hong Kong, where they finished runners-up in 2021. Marquand and Doyle will be joined by British jockeys Ryan Moore and David Egan, as well as a number of top European riders including Christophe Soumillon, Mickael Barzalona and Cristian Demuro.
"We have to be on site from 26 October, so we will leave a few days before," said Marquand. "Our last day of racing in Japan should be Christmas Day and after that we will come straight home. When you go there for the first time, you get a licence for a maximum of two months. David Egan got three weeks in December, Ryan got three or four weeks from when we left until Hong Kong. We applied for the full two months and got it, which is great." Due to Corona restrictions, Marquand and Doyle were unable to travel to Japan last year, but 12 months later they are even more excited about their upcoming venture. "It will be good to experience a change. I`ve been here pretty much every winter so I think it`s really due," said Doyle.
"I`m looking forward to the experience and trying to become a better rider and see some of the world. It`s a great opportunity and I`m really pleased they`ve accepted my application." Marquand added: "Japan has always been a place we both wanted to go and you have to be good for an application to be accepted there. We are lucky that the last two years have gone very well. The chance to experience something new is another reason to go abroad in the winter, and it helps to break the routine a bit. It gives the mind and body a chance to come back down to earth and prepare for the season."
It goes on to say "We`ve found over the last few years that we`re not good at sitting on the beach for long periods of time, so getting away and doing something different is enough to reboot us. If we continued here until Christmas, it would probably feel like a very long year, but going to Japan and hopefully having the opportunity to explore - that should be interesting." Marquand: §Japan has a great model for its racing and it definitely works."
Japanese racing has boomed internationally in recent years and after the country dominated the Dubai World Cup Carnival, Marquand is excited at the prospect of riding there. "Their horses are special," Marquand said. "They`ve been around the world for some time, but in the last few years they`ve just been dominant. How can you not want to go and ride where they produce horses like that? It`s been my experience that Australian racing fans are of a very different level to those here, and I think Japan will probably be a notch higher in terms of the number of racing fans."
Having won in Australia, Dubai and Hong Kong, Marquand knows the challenges of racing abroad and believes he will do well in Japan. "There are two main training centres, Miho and Ritto, each training several thousand horses. It`s a bit different from Newmarket, where each trainer works for himself and everything is very separate," Marquand continued. "Wherever you go in the world you have to adapt, but realistically the basics of racing are still the same, you just have to adapt to everything around you."
The racetrack spy