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Weekly Horse Racing Blog: A Champion Day for Hollie & Tom


Just Champion!

There were just six races on the British Champions Day card at Ascot on Saturday and Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand won an amazing two each.

On an afternoon that saw the Dettori/Gosden and Aidan O’Brien powerhouse teams leave empty-handed, a new power couple dominated the headlines – this time a couple who are dating!

A day racing's power couple will never forget!?Highlights of an amazing #ChampionsDay ??Social media reaction - A lot of love for Hollie and Tomhttps://t.co/Z1AgDTWby5— Great British Racing (@GBRacing) October 17, 2020 Group One Success

After victory in the Long Distance Cup aboard the Alan King-trained Trueshan, Hollie Doyle landed her first Group One success in the very next race as Glen Shiel took the Champions Sprint Stakes in a thrilling photo-finish.

Hollie has now entered the running for the 2020 BBC Sports Personality Of The Year with best odds of 33/1 on offer from Paddy Power. She is as low as 12/1 with GentingBet.

Marquand himself triumphed in the day’s feature race, the Champion Stakes, on the William Haggas-trained Addeybb. He then took the concluding Balmoral Handicap on Jessica Harrington Njord, with girlfriend Doyle coming in second on Solid Stone.

Speaking on Sunday after having time to reflect on Saturday’s achievements, Hollie Doyle said: “It was a great day. I would have been pleased just for all the horses to run well, so to ride two winners was brilliant.

“Trueshan was very impressive, and to get off to a start like that fills you with plenty of confidence for the rest of the day.

“I didn’t think Glen Shiel had won, so it was a big shock when he was called as the winner.”

Tom Marquand was equally as philosophical about their joint headline making: “You couldn’t have written the day any better. We are both so lucky to be in the position we’re in. Unintentionally, I guess, we’re pushing each other. We both have similar goals and things we want to achieve. We’ve got each other’s entire and full backing, which has to make a difference.”

Wonderful Winner

Away from the four victories delivered by the golden couple, Wonderful Tonight was a decisive winner of the Fillies & Mares Stakes and she looks primed to go onto bigger and better things next term.

A fortnight ago, David Menusier’s three-year-old tasted her first Group One success in the Prix de Royallieu at ParisLongchamp. At the weekend she proved that her French victory was no flash in the pan by gaining her second Group One at Ascot. She could well prove to be a live Arc contender next year – watch this space!

Revenant Loves the Mud

Also a winner on the recent Arc weekend was The Revenant, who returned to Ascot to put last year’s runner-up disappointment behind him and take this year’s renewal of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

The two-time Prix Daniel Wildenstein victor will be aimed at further top-level assignments in 2021 according to his trainer, Francis-Henri Graffard.

“We will wait until next year now – we won’t travel abroad and will stick to Europe. Hopefully we will be able to run him in the spring and the autumn.

“He has won on good ground, but obviously he can perform at a very high level on soft and heavy.”

Jump Ahead!

Now that the curtain has effectively come down on the European Flat season, punters will be turning their attentions towards the new National Hunt jumps season and the forthcoming “Showcase” meeting at Cheltenham on Friday and Saturday of this week.

Often a stepping stone to Cheltenham Festival, the Showcase Meeting is a must watch for fans trying to garner an angle from the early season Prestbury Park skirmishes. These early “showdowns” often prove to be highly significant as the season unfolds.

If you delve back through the recent trends and statistics, 15 horses in the last 10 years ran at the Showcase meeting before going on to lands the spoils at Cheltenham the following March.

It’s definitely two days of jumps action you cannot afford to not familiarise yourself with the results from. Don’t miss it!