'How can you not want to go?' - Marquand and Doyle set for Japanese adventure

Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle at their home in Hungerford29.10.20 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle are heading to Japan at the end of OctoberCredit: Edward Whitaker

Top jockeys Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle have no plans of winding down during the winter and will instead take a crack at riding in Japan for two months.

The stint will mark the first trip to Japan for the pair after they competed in the last two International Jockeys' Championships in Hong Kong, where they finished joint-second in 2021.

Marquand and Doyle will be joined by fellow British jockeys Ryan Moore and David Egan, along with a host of top-level European riders including Christophe Soumillon, Mickael Barzalona and Cristian Demuro.

"We've got to be there from October 26, so we're going to head out a few days before," said Marquand. "Our last day riding in Japan should be Christmas Day and then we'll come straight home after that.

"When you first go out there you get a two-month licence maximum. David Egan got three weeks in December, Ryan got three or four weeks from when we go until Hong Kong time. We applied for the full two months and got it, so that's great."

Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle : heading back to Hong Kong  Pic: Edward Whitaker
Marquand and Doyle are looking forward to the experience of riding somewhere newCredit: Edward Whitaker

Covid restrictions prevented Marquand and Doyle making the trip to Japan last year but they are even more excited about their upcoming endeavour 12 months on.

"It will be good to get a change. I've been here pretty much every winter so I think it's due really," said Doyle.

"I'm looking forward to the experience and trying to become a better rider and see a bit of the world. It's a great opportunity and I'm really privileged for them to accept my application."

Marquand added: "Japan has always been a place we've both wanted to go and you have to be going well to have an application accepted there. We're very fortunate that the last couple of years have been great.

"We applied last year but Covid restrictions meant the government weren't giving out visas. It's something we've always had our eye on but this is the first year it's materialised.

"Getting the chance to experience somewhere new is another reason for going abroad for the winter and it helps break the regime a little bit. It gives your mind and your body a chance to get back to square one and build back up into the season.

"We found out over the last few years that we're not very good at sitting on the beach for long, so going away and doing something different is enough to reboot us. If we were carrying on here until Christmas it would probably feel like a really long year but going over there and hopefully having the chance to explore as well – it should be interesting."

Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand at Windsor racecourse on Bank Holiday MondayWindsor 31.5.21 Pic: Edward Whitaker/Racing Post
Marquand: 'Japan has got a great model for its racing and it definitely works'Credit: Edward Whitaker

Japanese racing has thrived internationally in recent years and after the country's domination of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, Marquand is relishing the prospect of riding out there.

"Their horses are something different," said Marquand. "They've been going around the world for a while but the last couple of years they've just been dominant. How can you not want to go and ride somewhere where they're producing horses like that?

"I've had the experience of Australian racing fans – they're another level all together compared to what we have here, and I think Japan will probably prove to be another step above on the amount of people that are into racing. They've got a great model for their racing and it definitely works."

After riding winners in Australia, Dubai and Hong Kong, Marquand is not new to the challenges of riding abroad and believes he will be able to adapt to Japan.

"You've got two main training centres, Miho and Ritto, where it seems there are a few thousand horses at each one, so it's a bit different to Newmarket where you've got each individual trainer and it's kept very separate," added Marquand.

"Wherever you go in the world you have to adapt but realistically the fundamentals of racing are still the same, it's just adjusting to everything around it."

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Harry WilsonReporter

Published on 23 September 2022inInternational

Last updated 09:57, 23 September 2022