‘I’ll pay my own way’: English hoop eyes return after Millennium win


English jockey Tom Marquand will fly himself back to Australia for the Golden Slipper carnival after celebrating the biggest win of his career when Prime Star won the Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

The Englishman has travelled to Australia on working holidays for the past couple of years, but he is eying more time down under as trainers clamber for his services. His win on Prime Star was another example of why.

Tom Marquand gets the best out of Prime Star for a million-dollar payday in the Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm on WednesdayCredit:Getty Images

“He is a gun rider and he was the difference in a close finish there,” Prime Star’s co-trainer Michael Freedman said. “We would want to get him back for Prime Star and whenever else we can get him on.”

Marquand won the Widden Stakes and Canonbury Stakes on Away Game and Prague for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace to start the month and the stable is keen to have him on one of their horses in the Golden Slipper.

Freedman also wants him to come back for Prime Star, which could head to the Sire Produce Stakes at Randwick in April after he was too tough for Bella Nipotina in a driving finish, with Larimer Street a length back in third.

The $1.15 million winner cheque eclipsed anything Marquand had earned in England and his two-month stay in Australia has delivered the equivalent of about six months’ wages riding at home.

“I’ll pay my own way back and chance my arm,” Marquand said. “I will be back for the 14th of March meeting and stay the week leading into the Golden Slipper. After that, I’m not really sure of the plan.

“I came out here to lift my profile and I can’t tell you how much [winning out here] has done for that back home. It has just been a good experience.

“The biggest race I have won at home is the Northumberland Plate, which is worth 150,000 pounds [$300,000] total. This is in another league.”

Tom Marquand is all smiles after winning the Inglis MillenniumCredit:Getty Images

Marquand has ridden 17 winners in his stay this time for more than $2m in prizemoney, so he has taken home more than $100,000 in riding percentages alone.

“The racing at home is what I have grown up with and it is where I dreamed of being successful, but there are so many chances here,” Marquand said. “It is worth a shot.”

Marquard will ride in Qatar and at the Saudi Cup meeting in coming weeks then head back to Australia before the English flat season gets into full swing.

Prime Star, a $55,000 purchase, delivered the biggest win for the training partnership of Richard and Michael Freedman after being gelded following his debut.

“It has definitely made the horse,” Michael Freedman said. “He has gone from being a playboy at his first start to a genuine little racehorse after we gelded him.

“We will have to rethink what we do with him from here. If he comes through that ok, we’ll certainly look at some of the other two-year-old races.

“I don’t think he is a Slipper horse but a race like the Sires might suit him. But whatever he does now is a bonus.”

As expected, Golden Slipper favourite Cellsabeel was a raceday scratching, which threw the Millennium wide open. Ciaron Maher will target next week’s Silver Slipper with the Hinchinbrook filly where a win will secure a ballot exemption for the Golden Slipper.

Meanwhile, the funeral for Pam Cornish will be held in the North Chapel of the Northern Suburbs Memorial Garden and Crematorium, North Ryde at 11.15am on Friday.

Cornish, the wife of former ATC chairman John, died on Monday after long battle with cancer.

“Pam was a wonderful woman who battled illness for many years later in her life but continued that brave fight right to the end,” ATC chairman Matt McGrath said.

“Even two Saturdays ago she was at Royal Randwick in searing heat to cheer on another of the Torryburn team, continuing a life so well lived with her dear and beloved family.”

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