Henry II Stakes: Tom Marquand produces masterclass on Quickthorn

Thu 26 May 2022

By Graham Clark

Hughie Morrison believes Quickthorn is worthy of a swift return to Group One company after hailing his tenacious front-running success in the Coral Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park this evening as a “great effort”.

Having filled the runner-up spot on his two previous starts this season, the gelded son of Nathaniel finally gained the victory he had been threatening with a first Pattern race success in the Group Three contest.

A brilliant ride! Watch how Tom Marquand guided Quickthorn to victory at Sandown

It was clear from an early stage that jockey Tom Marquand intended to make the two-mile prize, which Morrison claimed in 2015 with Vent De Force, a stamina test after opening a sizeable advantage early on in the race.

Entering the home straight, it looked as though nothing would catch Quickthorn. However, approaching the final quarter of a mile he was eyeballed by recent Newmarket scorer Nate The Great, while both Enemy and Rodrigo Diaz looked set to mount their challenges just in behind.

Despite being pressed late, Quickthorn was not to relinquish his lead and the climb to the line he continued to find plenty under Marquand to score by a length and three quarters from Nate The Great.

Tom Marquand discusses how he won the Henry II Stakes abaord Quickthorn

Morrison said of the successful 11-4 favourite: “He is a damn good galloper and Tom said the ground was quick enough for him today and he could feel he wasn’t enjoying it down the hill. I think the autumn is his life.

“He is worth, on that performance, going to the top level again. We didn’t put him in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot as the likelihood of the ground at Ascot, which he loved last year when he won, being in his favour is doubtful.

“I’ve not really discussed that (the ride) with the jockey yet. The idea was to go forward and follow one but he found himself in front and he was enjoying himself and he got it right.

“You tell me (that he pulled away again) I wasn’t enjoying any second of that from about a furlong on a half but it was a great effort from him. What a horse. He is a lovely homebred horse of the Blyth’s.

Where next for Quickthorn? Hughie Morrison tells us more

“We had a go at the Prix Royal-Oak last year. He had ulcers last year and lost his form at the end of the season but this year we apparently have that under control and I think he is still improving.

“He had most of his three year old career off. He got a bit jarred up as a three year old and they (the owners, the Blyth family) made a great decision and turned him away for six months. We did the same thing to Telecaster and look what happened to him when he came back.

“Last year went fantastically well until October and it hasn’t gone badly this year. We weren’t going to go to Nottingham when he got beat by Trueshan, who looks the best, but we are improving.

“It is a good division at the moment. We would have to supplement for the Gold Cup which is an even bigger call but we will enjoy this I think then make a plan.

“Tom says in the right conditions he is right up there and that we should have a go.”

Royal Ascot next as Maria Branwell maintains unbeaten record

Trainer Mike Murphy might not have too many runners from his own yard heading to Royal Ascot next month but he looks set to experience an outing at the meeting as an owner after Maria Branwell landed the Coral National Stakes (5f) at Sandown Park this evening.

The Bedfordshire-based handler, who is member of the winning syndicate Bronte Collection 1, watched on with delight as the David O’Meara-trained daughter of James Garfield added to her debut victory at Thirsk in the Listed prize.

Working her way into contention the 3-1 chance drew level with 10-11 Favourite Crispy Cat deep inside the final furlong before prevailing by a neck to earn an 8-1 quote for the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting with William Hill.

Murphy said: “The Bronte Collection is a group of Steve Parkin’s mates and if I remember rightly the genesis of it was the Champions Day weekend last year and he, Steve, said he was going to put together this syndicate for a group of friends.

“There are 15 or 20 horses in total and we train one, and it is great fun.

“According to Danny (Tudhope, jockey), yes Royal Ascot will be on the agenda but we will leave that to the trainer!

“She has a super temperament and I watched her around the parade ring and you wouldn’t think she was a filly.

“She went to the start well and she didn’t mind that little bit of cut in the ground. She probably got taken off her feet in the first furlong but the further she went on in the race the better she was going.

“She wandered across the track a little bit and you would think she would want six furlongs.”

Equally delighted was winning rider Danny Tudhope, who also believed she would have no problem stepping up in trip

He said: “That was only her second start but she is still learning. She was up against the boys today. I sat on her a few weeks ago at home but she has taken a nice step forward and she gave me a nice feel.

“She has got a great attitude with a nice temperament. She is a very likeable filly and done her best work in the final furlong. She would get six furlongs.

“I was a little bit outpaced and off my feet the first few furlongs but she came good half way and picked up great. I was always confident I was going to get there.”

Warren Jupp, syndicate spokesman for The Golf Partnership, described watching The Whipmaster follow up his recent success at Lingfield by three and three-quarter lengths in the opening Coral “Beaten-By-A-Length” Free Bet Handicap (1m 2f) as like a “10 foot putt” going in

Jupp said: “He is home bred out of Birdie Queen, who was our first mare. We had Silver Cliffs as well and hopefully we have a two year old out in a few days’ time.

“We were very confident as he had run well at Lingfield and Gary (Moore, trainer) said he had been in great form at home. We had Ryan on board and he rode him perfectly as he said he would and we got our just rewards. It was like a 10 foot putt going in.

“We’ve all known each for years and tend to go on golfing holidays and that is where the name The Whipmaster came from as that’s the person who looks after the kitty on our evenings out.

“He is two wins out three this season. He started off well last season and we will leave it in Gary’s hands to see where we go next. He is a decent horse as he won that quite well.”

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