One to follow – Tom Marquand
Making a long-term career choice can be a daunting task, but not for young apprentice jockey Tom Marquand. At just 16, Tom left his academic studies behind and went straight to the British Racing School (BRS) in Newmarket to pursue a career as a jockey. He hasn’t looked back since.
“I always rode ponies as a kid,” Marquand said. “I got the chance to pony race on a friends pony and got the buzz!”.
That buzz was clearly infectious with Tom breezing through the BRS process and taking out a license in late 2014. Although only riding 14 horses in his first year as a jockey, Tom still managed to ride a winner as well as four places.
Tom’s career has gone from strength to strength since the start of 2015 with the first major coup of his riding career coming in early March. On Winter Derby day at Lingfield, Tom claimed the All Weather Hands and Heels Champion Title beating other hot apprentices such as Ed Greatrex, Rob Hornby and Hector Crouch.
Senior jockey coach, Richard Perham, commented that Tom has shown “not only a professional approach to racing but also a strong technique in riding a finish”.
The underlying stats of Marquand’s career are even more impressive. Tom has already notched up a superb 24 wins from 225 rides this year with his strike rate on All-Weather reading particularly well at 13%. In little over seven months, Marquand has collected £157,606.43 in prize money – this for a jockey who has only been qualified to drive for a month.
What is perhaps most interesting about Tom Marquand is his ability to create and maintain relationships. The likes of Richard Hannon, David Simcock, Lady Cecil and Ed Vaughan have already put up Tom which demonstrates his likeable attitude both in and out of the saddle.
A horse called Who Dares Wins is a great example of Tom’s riding ability. An inmate for Richard Hannon, the three year-old colt couldn’t get his head in front under the likes of Sean Levey, Pat Dobbs and Richard Hughes yet Marquand immediately partnered him to two successes. Such achievements have already seen Tom lose his 7lb claim in just half a year. The biggest challenge for any apprentice is remaining popular amongst trainers in the face of a lowering claim, but Tom is clearly a prized asset and achieving that goal.
When Richard Hannon snatches up an apprentice it is important to take note and Tom Marquand is no exception. His ability in the saddle has rewarded trainers who have sought to put him up and he is definitely one of the top apprentices to follow this year.