Tom Marquand can’t wait to test out the classic ‘handsome model’ credentials Al Moubhir in the bet365 Craven Stakes feature at Newmarket on Wednesday as he launches his bid to be crowned champion jockey for the first time later this month.
The 24-year-old will hope the William Haggas-trained colt can give him the perfect boost in the mile race, before beginning his quest to secure the Flat Jockeys Championship which begins on day two of the QIPCO Guineas festival in Newmarket on Saturday 30and April.
It’s already been a busy spring away from the track for Marquand, who wed compatriot Hollie Doyle last month and is now focused on helping Frankel’s son add to his first Rowley Mile success in the Group Three prize the second day. of meeting bet365 Craven.
He said: “I haven’t been there for the Craven Meeting for the past two seasons. Last year I was in Australia with Addeybb and watched Sacred win the Nell Gwyn and then we had the Covid outbreak the year before while I was still in Australia.
“It’s definitely a different feeling to be at this time of year because I’ve been a bit detached from it for the past few years.
“Al Mubhir looks really good. The fact that he managed to win a Maiden of Newmarket was impressive in itself. He behaved very well all winter. Anyway, it’s a nice model. but he did well to have this break.
“It’s an uphill battle for the second time trying to win a Craven, but there’s a reason he’s in there and that’s because William loves him and the team loves him. .
“I jumped on him the other day at home and he felt great. It was my first time sitting on him and it made me look forward to it.
“As so often these Newmarket maidens turn out to be good little runs and he didn’t beat a load of trees.”
Al Mubhir will have to drop the colors of last season’s two-year-old champion Native Trailwho ended his campaign unbeaten with victory in the group stakes a Darley Dewhurst on the track and Marquand admits it will be an “interesting” clash.
He added: “No Craven is an easy mission, but especially this year with Native Trail. You never know how the horses spent the winter until they hit the race track.
“I guess we’ll see how he did when we get to the Craven. He was champion last year and he could be again this year.
“As so many people often say, there’s no point in running away from a horse. It will be interesting. Our boy will learn a bit on the job and hopefully we will learn a bit more about him at the same time and what will happen with Native Trail.
Although Al Mubhir is struggling to find form with a number of his rivals, Marquand believes the increased run and his proven run form are big positives.
He added: “It’s huge that he’s already won the Rowley Mile. The most common excuse for jockeys riding the Rowley Mile is that they couldn’t take the dive.
“It’s not certain that it won’t be a problem against this level of horses, but at least you know he’s balanced enough to go on and get through it.
“They’ll stretch them by the time they hit the dive, but at least you can have that bit of confidence that he should be able to perform well and come out the other side.
“He should love going to the mile. There could even be the possibility of him getting another one or two yards, but that remains to be seen. A mile is definitely a step in the right direction for him.
Before boarding Al Mubhir, the conditional 2015 champion jockey will team up with his stable mate perfect news in group three this afternoon Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes over seven furlongs.
Frankel’s daughter signed last season finishing third in course and distance on par behind Fast Attack in the Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes.
He said: “She also has the experience and form for the course which is great and she has also done well all winter which is great. I haven’t sat on it this year but I’ve seen it and galloped with it and it looks great.
“She is a beautiful filly that does everything well. I hope she can improve as she showed very good form at the end of last season.
“It was the end of the year for her in the Oh So Sharp Stakes and she may have just reached her end point, but she was still improving finishing third.
“You would hope for a really big race. I hope she can prove her 1000 guineas and everything is fine, that’s what will happen, but we know how horse racing is.
After finishing third in the Flat Jockeys Championship last year, Marquand is hoping he can move up two places this time around, but admits last year’s runner-up William Buick will be tough to beat.
He added: “As usual, I will keep my head down and try to put together as many winners as possible. possible and do the same the next day.
“William (Buick) will be pretty tough to beat and there will be other people in the equation as well, but I’m looking forward to being stuck in the season and seeing where it takes us.”
Graham Clark/The Jockey Club Press Release