Marquand Hoping Orchestral Meets Her Match In Zardozi

Tom Marquand has been part of some of the most exciting two horse wars in Sydney over the past few years but he’s not going into Saturday’s Group 1 $750,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill thinking it’s simply Zardozi versus Orchestral.

Tom Marquand (Pic: Bradley Photos).

The popular UK jockey is well versed in how much Aussie punters love a match race – and he loves all the talk around them – given his four memorable battles with Verry Elleegant on Addeybb and even last year’s Dubai Honour-Anamoe showdown.

“Everyone loves romantic stories that you’ve got these two-horse races,’’ Marquand said.

“It’s wonderful you have two fillies that clearly stick out but you can’t be under the illusion as a jockey that there’s only two horses in a race.

“You guys absolutely love a match race and are probably guilty of building them up. It’s fantastic for fans, it’s great for racing, it’s good fun but being realistic you don’t let it get into your head.

“It’s not a two horse race, if you’re drawn next to each other it becomes a different beast but we’re not.

“They have different running styles, you ride the race how you see fit for your horse and how you think it’s going to get to the line best.

“You can definitely get hooked up on trying to beat one horse then you get beaten altogether.”

Marquand said Addeybb’s 2021 Queen Elizabeth Stakes win over Verry Elleegant is the one ‘match race’ he enjoyed the most.

“It was one where she’d beaten him in the Ranvet, we thought we had a valid excuse then there’s a small part of you that thinks ‘did we’,’’ he said.

“Then to come and turn it back around, after the Aussies are backing their horse, it’s great.”

Zardozi and Orchestral have never met but James McDonald has the advantage of having ridden both fillies to wins.

Marquand has had two rides on the Godolphin filly and the dashing style of her runaway Phar Lap Stakes win two weeks ago took him aback slightly, given she was second-up off a Victorian Oaks win.

“She surprised me how much speed she really had in the locker,’’ he said.

“If you just rode her that day you wouldn’t especially think she’s screaming out for 2400m.

“She’ll be full of confidence off that win. The nice thing is she has that speed in the locker but you also know she stays further.”

Orchestral, last start New Zealand Derby winner, was $1.60 with TAB on Thursday while Zardozi was $4.60 but Marquand said his filly can only be hitting her straps now she’s stretching out to a trip she’s proven she’s effective at.

“It was a big performance I thought last time, she’s a very good filly and she’s getting up to that distance she’s most to the fore,’’ Marquand said.

“You’re under no illusion the Kiwi filly is very good as well and it’s going to be a tough race to win but she’s exactly where you want her going into a race like this.”

There’ll be plenty of attention on whether import Post Impressionist can back up his stunning Australian debut and convert it to weight-for-age in the Group 1 $1.5m Kia Tancred Stakes (2400m).

What Marquand says will help the five-year-old is the fact that his easy Manion Cup win over the same course last weekend was just that, relatively easy on the horse.

“I wouldn’t say it was a gut wrenching run because he raced that first two thirds so economically,’’ he said.

“Once you’re fit and up and running it’s different altogether. He felt great the other day, better than ever, so hope he turns up this weekend the same.

“I’m strongly in the belief if he turns up in similar form, or has improved, he’ll be extremely competitive.”

It seemed next month’s Sydney Cup was Post Impressionist’s for the taking when he gave William Haggas a third Manion Cup, which saw him incur a 2kg penalty, but there’s a chance Saturday will be his grand final.

Marquand said he won’t know until the pressure is on whether the back-up is a factor.

“It’s a tough thing to do and it looks a golden opportunity but we’re being realistic,’’ he said.

“We all look at that race and go it’s a winnable Group 1 but he’ll have to be turning up in the form he was in the other day if not better, and can he do that off a week turnaround.”

– Racing NSW

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