As they prepare to compete at The QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot, Berkshire-based Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle discuss their relationship, a successful year and what’s to come
It appears 2020 was quite a year for you both. How do you look back on it?
Hollie: It was a bit of a whirlwind for me. Getting my first Royal Ascot winner was amazing and then riding a double on QIPCO British Champions Day, including my first Group 1 on Glen Shiel was a really special day. I couldn’t believe it when I was nominated for Sports Personality of the Year and coming third against some of the other athletes was unreal.
Tom: Obviously Hollie getting nominated for Sports Personality of the Year in 2020 was crazy and I was so proud of her. I got my first Classic winner in the St Leger and my first Group 1 winner in Australia (with Addeybb). That was such a great experience being out there, particularly while there was no racing in the UK, it felt like everyone around the world was watching.
How does it feel to be referred to as racing’s ‘power couple’?
Tom: I didn’t know we were!
Hollie: We’re probably the only couple that regularly ride against each other in the weighing room, so I’m not sure there’s much competition for that title!We definitely encourage each other and spur each other on, as well as celebrate the wins together. There isn’t really any added pressure though, because ultimately as jockeys we’re riding our own individual races.
Congratulations on your engagement announcement at the start of the year. How do you
maintain a healthy relationship given your busy schedules?
Hollie: The life of a jockey is not your usual 9am to 5pm, it is a lifestyle, but I don’t even think of it as going to work every day, even though some days can be incredibly long.
Tom: We’ve been together such a long time and we know each other so well, it’s pretty easy in that regard. We’re very rarely at home together for long periods, but we always get away for a few weeks in the winter!
Engagement news aside, how has 2021 been for you both so far?
Hollie: Despite the pandemic it’s been a great year so far. We’re lucky that as elite athletes we’ve been able to race all year and travel abroad when we needed to. And in some of those tougher times we’ve kept our heads down and focused on the riding. Riding Trueshan to win the Group 1 Goodwood Cup in front of some of the first crowds back was special.
Tom: I’ve had another great year with lots of amazing rides, from another Group 1 win with Addeybb in Australia, to winning the July Cup with Starman here in the UK. It’s great to consistently be getting on some of the very best horses.
Are you looking forward to competing at QIPCO British Champions Day in October?
Tom: QIPCO British Champions Day was such a great meeting for us last year [they took four of the six races between them in 2020] so that might take some beating! There’s always a great atmosphere at Ascot for Champions Day and it’ll be great to have crowds back at the event this year.
Will it be nice to be closer to home?
Hollie: We travel so much for work, it’s great to ride at Ascot and get home in time for dinner! It’s such a special track to ride at, especially with a big crowd in and we’re really well looked after there. It’s nice to both be in the same place at once too – we can be like ships in the night some weeks. We have lived in near Lambourn in Berkshire for the last two years.
When you are travelling the world, what do you miss the most about home?
Hollie: When you get back from being away there is nothing better than getting back into my own bed!
Can you both pick out a couple of local haunts you love, which can be outdoor spots,
landmarks, restaurants etc etc?
Tom: Our favourite place to go to is The Woodspeen near Newbury. It is a Michelin star restaurant very close to our house and we love going there. We also enjoy cycling when we have the time.
The QIPCO British Champions Day takes place at Ascot on 16 October – see more at britishchampionsseries.com/qipco-british-champions-day