How racing power couples from Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand to Meg Nicholls and Kevin Stott took over the track
SUPERSTAR racing power couples have discovered that finding love off the track has helped them on it.
Loved-up couples who compete in the day then do the dishes together at night have taken the sport by storm in recent months.
Racing is pretty much unique in that men and women compete on a level playing field, in the same races.
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And it can make for fascinating watching as husband and wife do battle down the final furlong.
But far from make life difficult, the idea of pipping a loved one to first can actually be beneficial.
Just ask ultimate racing superstar couple Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand.
Top flat jockey Tom, 22, shared news of his engagement to Hollie, 24, on New Year's Eve after popping the question in St Lucia.
The loved-up pair, who have known each other for around ten years, looked the picture of happiness.
And the brilliant personal news capped off a year of amazing success for them both.
Hollie finished third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award having ridden 151 winners.
That included her first Group One success – the highest level of horseracing – on Glen Shiel at Ascot.
Prior to that came the amazing 899-1 five-timer at Windsor in August.
But it was the Champions Day meet at Ascot that would prove the most special, after Tom rode two winners of his own as well.
The couple dominated, winning four of the six races on the day.
Tom explained what makes the pair tick when reflecting on that magical Ascot day.
He told The Guardian: "After racing, we got in the car and looked at each other and started laughing.
"It's ridiculous really. You couldn't have written the day any better. We are both so lucky to be in the position we're in.
"Unintentionally I guess, we're pushing each other.
"We both have similar goals and things we want to achieve. We've got each other's entire and full backing, which has to make a difference."
Dreaming of following in their footsteps on the flat is Meg Nicholls – daughter of 11-time champion trainer Paul – and her boyfriend Kevin Stott.
They got together after training in Dubai last winter and have seen their careers take off in tandem.
A post shared by Megan Nicholls (@meg_nicholls97)
A post shared by Megan Nicholls (@meg_nicholls97)
Kevin, 26, had an incredible Group One winner on Hello Youmzain in the Diamond Jubilee in June – his first Royal Ascot triumph.
And he has now been named the retained rider for Nick Bradley for the 2021 flat season.
Funnily enough, it was Kevin who Megan pipped into first place when she rode out her 95th winner at Wolverhampton back in November.
At a time when many couples have been pulling their hair out after living through lockdown together, Megan and Kevin look to have gone from strength to strength.
Speaking of strength, that is finally what Nick Scholfield has back in his leg after breaking it in three places thanks to a freak collision with a loose horse.
His girlfriend, famed jumps rider Hayley Turner, posted a photo of Nick in bed after the accident last November.
A post shared by Hayley Turner (@hayleytxxx)
In September Hayley, 38, who in 2008 became the first woman jockey to win 100 UK flat races during a year, posted a selfie of them together with the caption 'it's official'.
The pair do not compete in races directly as Nick is a jockey over jumps.
But they could both be celebrating come March, should Nick get the ride on Sky Pirate in the Arkle at Cheltenham Festival.
One couple who know what it's like to compete over the thrills and spills of jumps are Bridget and Harry Skelton.
They got married in August 2019 – five months after riding against each other at Cheltenham.
It was the year before though, in 2018, that served up one of racing's most heartwarming images.
Bridget had just won the County Hurdle on Gold Cup day.
She had barely pulled up on her mount before Harry was alongside her, planting a kiss on her cheek.
Bridget spoke of the unforgettable day to the Daily Mail.
She said: "I could hear this shouting and I thought what is going on behind me? You’d have thought Harry himself had won!
"I remember Harry giving me a big hug and saying take it all in. It was a massive moment and I hope I get another."
Harry added: "My horse was going quite well. He just couldn’t quicken going to the last hurdle. Bridget jumped the last upsides and about to hit the front.
"I was roaring for her the whole way up the straight. When I punched the air as I finished sixth, people probably thought 'what the hell is he doing?'
"But it was a day I will never forget. I am just as happy when she wins as I would be myself."
With racing's power couples providing a love story of their own to punters backing their horses, expect more scenes like that in 2021.
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