Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Article 27th September 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Tom Marquand believes Relief Rally only has to take a ‘step not a leap’ forward to secure what he describes would be a well-deserved breakthrough Group One victory in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday (September 30th).      

The Classic-winning rider is confident the William Haggas-trained two-year-old can continue her remarkable rise through the ranks by making her first start at the highest level a triumphant one at the weekend in the fillies only six-furlong contest.  

After making a winning debut at Windsor in April the daughter of Kodiac swiftly followed that up with victory at Salisbury before suffering the only defeat of her career to date when going down by a nose in the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.  

Subsequently, Relief Rally has brushed aside her rivals in the valuable Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury before making her first start over six furlongs a winning one with a tenacious success in the Group Two Sky Bet Lowther Stakes at York last month.   

And it is on the back of her last time out victory that has given Marquand added confidence that the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned filly can again prove to be the one they all have to beat. 

Marquand said: “Relief Rally has been foot perfect all season. She is a little battler and has the ability to go with it which is great.  

“I’m looking forward to the weekend as it would be her big opportunity to get a well-deserved Group One on the board. 

“Realistically, she probably has to take another little step forward as there are other fillies who will be progressing at the end of the year, but it is a step, not a leap.     

“She has been super versatile everywhere we have gone with her. The way she has done everything else I can’t imagine the track will be a problem.

“If she takes a small step forward she should be putting up a big performance and that should be enough to win.” 

While others might have needed time to be won over by Relief Rally it is not the case for Marquand, who has been a big fan of her since hitting the ground running at Windsor.      

He added: “At Windsor she showed bags of speed and seemed really straightforward and sharp. I was a big fan of her that day.  

“She has taken big steps forward with each of her runs and she was unfortunate not to win at Ascot, but she has shown a high level of form on those festival meeting cards.  

“I was really looking forward to riding her over six furlongs to be honest with you at York. Over five, you had to give her that chance to fill up and then she would really rocket home.  

“I was keen to jump aboard her over six furlongs as I thought it would suit her so well and she proved us right.” 

With any sharp two-year-old there is always the fear they will not train on, but if that is the case Marquand feels what she has achieved on track this season will give her connections plenty of good memories to remember her by. 

He added: “If she does train on it would be absolutely fantastic as she has not had a killer year where you have emptied the tank.  

“She has had every opportunity to have some big dances, and this would be the biggest of them all.  

“With fast two-year-olds you have to enjoy them in the moment and ultimately she has given us a great season.  

“If it backs up to nothing else then so be it, but you can always look back with great fondness as there are not many that can go to those big festival meetings and perform as well as she has.” 

Not only does Marquand have Relief Rally to look forward to on Saturday, but he will also bid for Group One glory aboard stablemate Lake Forest in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes.  

Despite springing somewhat of a surprise on his most recent start at Group Two level in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes at York, the 25 year old feels the son of No Nay Never should not be underestimated.  

Marquand said: “He flashed what he could do up at Haydock on his first start and the July Stakes at Newmarket was similar.  

“Getting beat in the novice was the curve ball that probably made him completely unfancied in the Gimcrack, but if you went back to that July Stakes form you probably had to think he was not too far away from having a real good shout in it.  

“It is going to be an extremely tough race and there are those horses that are proven at the top level already, but he is a Gimcrack winner, and you have to be a pretty good horse to do that and hopefully he can continue on that path.” 

Although Lake Forest suffered a 1-3 reversal in a novice contest at Newmarket prior to his latest success, Marquand feels it was a defeat that helped connections discover more about the horse as an individual.   

He added: “When I got off him in the July Stakes I thought it was inexperience that caught us out that day. He went to Newmarket afterwards and things didn’t go right for him in that novice and he got beat.  

“I wasn’t on board him the day he was beaten in the novice race at Newmarket but we learnt a bit from that experience and that put us a bit closer to completely working out what he wants. 

“He is a really cool little horse that is not flash at home, but I like him as a character as he is a bit under the radar.” 

While excited about the prospects of both Relief Rally and Lake Forest at the weekend Marquand is looking forward to being re-united with stablemate Maljoom, who will make his first start of the year in the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Joel Stakes on Friday.  

The son of Caravaggio has not been sighted on track since finishing a close fourth in last year’s Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. 

He said: “It is great to have Maljoom back on a racecourse. He was an extremely exciting horse but didn’t have things go his way and unfortunately he found a few bumps in the road.  

“I jumped on him the other morning and he felt great. He has been off the track for a long time and you worry he might be a bit rusty, but he feels and looks great and everyone is happy with him. 

“Hopefully he can make a good reappearance and show us what he showed before and get back on the right road.  

“William had a couple of options for him, but he chose this for a reason, and it looks a good starting place back. Hopefully it will be a good gauge as to where he is and what we do in the future with him. 

“Fingers crossed this next chapter in his book can be a bit longer than the last one and he can have a clear run at it all.” 


Cookie Policy

We use “cookies” to help enhance your experience and improve the functionality of our website. You can find out more in our cookie policy. We also serve cookies, some with chocolate chips, on our racecourses.