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Racing’s golden couple: all you need to know about these Group One-winning childhood sweethearts

Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle have been making waves within Flat racing over the past 12 months, H&H takes a look at their remarkable story...

The pony-racing circuit

The childhood sweethearts met while pony racing as young teenagers and soon started dating. Tom, 22, and Hollie, 24, have established their careers in the saddle together over the past decade. Tom credits doing it alongside each other the reason for keeping one another grounded and level-headed – enjoying the good days together and moving on from the bad days.

Backgrounds

Tom was born to non-horsey parents, but got hooked on riding after having lessons as a child, while his grandmother also owned a horse. Hollie, meanwhile, has a racing pedigree. Her father, Mark, is a Clonmel native and a former jockey, while her mother, Caroline, rode in Arab races.

On your bike

The talented duo live together near Hungerford in Berkshire. Lockdown allowed them to take some time away from racing and they filled their days doing DIY and long bike rides (with regular updates from Tom on social media).

Childhood dreams

Tom grew up near Cheltenham and rode out for trainers Tony Caroll and Jonjo O’Neill during the weekends and school holidays. Hollie’s childhood was spent in Herefordshire, where her family had ponies and point-to-pointers at home.

A life-changing year

While 2020 has been a life-changing year for many people owing to coronavirus, the past 10 months have been life-changing for Tom and Hollie in a more positive way. Hollie broke her own record for winners ridden in a season by a lady rider in this country, when securing her 117th victory of 2020 on State Occasion at Kempton. She also became the first female jockey to ride five winners on the same British card with a remarkable 899/1 quintuple at Windsor.

Tom, having ridden two Group Ones in Australia during the spring, returned to the UK and claimed his first Classic aboard Galileo Chrome in the Group One St Leger Stakes at Doncaster in September.

Making waves

The golden couple made headlines during the recent QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot (17 October) when claiming four of the six races between them. Hollie won the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup on Trueshan, before claiming her first Group One aboard Glen Shiel in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes. Tom topped the successful day off with a win in the feature race, the QIPCO Champion Stakes on Addeybb and then took the day’s finale on Njord.

Royal Ascot debuts

Racing fans were delighted when Royal Ascot was given the green light in June, albeit behind closed doors, and the delights continued for Tom and Hollie, who both rode to their first Royal Ascot victories during this year’s meeting – just 24 hours apart.

Future champions?

The title race for this season’s Flat jockey championship concludes on 7 November, with Oisin Murphy leading the way and William Buick in runner-up. But Tom is hot on William’s heals in third and Hollie sits in fourth.

Tough cookies

Tom had been fortunate with minimal injuries until getting kicked while riding in Australia and chipping the top of his fibula, he kept the injury quiet (despite being in “agony”) and went on to enjoy Group One success. In June 2018, Hollie was unseated during a race at Haydock Park, suffering terrible facial injuries, including the loss of several teeth. However, she was back race-riding 10 days later.

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Cooking up a storm

While Hollie doesn’t need to worry about the scales, Tom admits to having to be “careful” when it comes to his riding weight, but he still enjoys cooking for his girlfriend and, on a rare day off, they will treat themselves to something from the local butchers.

Fitness fanatics

They are an active couple and on their days away from racing they will often go to the gym, enjoy a bike ride or run. In 2018, Hollie battled it out with Arsenal and England footballer Leah Williamson in a variety of fitness tests.

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