Well travelled jockey Paul Marks is a proud and passionate South Australian, but for several months of the year he can’t wait to leave his home state.
It’s not personal, just an intense dislike of winter and at home in Millicent, a town 339km south-east of Adelaide, it can get frightfully cold.
For 49-year-old Marks the lure of the sun, heat and beaches in summer will always win over the rain, wet and chill of any winter.
Therefore it’s easy to understand why he is attracted to the top end in Darwin and rides there each season between March and August.
But in 2016 Marks has discovered a new winterland in Broome and judging by his reaction WA’s tourist mecca has left an indelible mark.
“Each winter I get away from Millicent because it can be unbearably cold,” Marks said.
“I usually ride in Darwin and on the way back home stopover in Kununurra for their cup meeting.
“But after a phone call from Kelvin Moore I decided to do it in reverse and will ride in Broome before going to Kununurra.
“I’ve always heard about Broome and it was one of those places you wanted to go to and check off your bucket list.
“It’s been absolutely marvellous and I really like it, especially the fishing and I will definitely be coming back again.”
Marks’ sojourn in Broome has been boosted by a rising nine-year-old who has rediscovered his zest for racing after coming out of retirement and indifferent early form.
Marks and Doutable have combined for a winning hatrick including the Derby Cup (1800m) and last Friday’s inaugural Max Simmonds Memorial Handicap (1800m).
Trainer Jayne Busslinger credits Marks with Doutable’s re-emergence and says his continued involvement will be pivotal in the lead up to the Broome Cup (2200m) in August.
“It’s marvellous how he is keen to be racing and he has the spark back in his eye again,” Marks said.
“Fingers crossed he can go all the way and he has pulled up well from his run the other day.
“I think he can win the Broome Cup and that will be a nice way to end the season and make the trip worthwhile.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli