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 51-year-old Marks chasing 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 discovered a new winter getaway in Broome and judging by his reaction, Western Australia’s tourist meccas 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 rode in Broome before going to Kununurra.
“I had always heard about Broome and their racing and it was one of those places you wanted to go to check off your bucket list.
“I enjoy the fishing and Kelvin and everyone has been hospitable.”
Marks’ affection for Broome took another leap forward yesterday when he combined with the Moore-trained Salamaat to take out the $50,000 Broome Sprint.
Starting at $13, the bay gelding charged home from ninth position and defeated Gone And Got It by a neck with a length to third placegetter and favourite, Chin Strap.
“We were quietly confident about him,” Marks said.
“He had been working extremely well.
“It all paid off for us.”
Marks believes he can have another big impact on Broome racing when the season draws to a close on Saturday.
Marks is chasing a feature race double when he combines with I’m A Bluebagger in the $150,000 Broome Cup (2200m).
“I wanted to win the Broome Sprint which I have achieved now,” Marks said.
“I now have the Broome Cup on my mind and I have a fair ride in that.
“He is a good each way chance and anything can happen.”