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Sunday 21 March 2021

Plenty Suggests Hollie Doyle Can Build on Brilliant 2020

The year 2020 will always be fondly remembered by Hollie Doyle. She rode over 150 winners on the Flat in Britain, including six in group contests and two of those came on British Champions Day at Ascot courtesy of Trueshan and Glen Shiel. 

Off the track, she has since got engaged to partner and fellow jockey Tom Marquand. It’s hard to say which side of their relationship has the higher profile after he picked up a victorious spare ride in the St Leger on Galileo Chrome. 

Rivals on a racecourse, but sweethearts off it – the sport of horse racing has always had its power couples. Think Richard and Jenny Pitman, and Terry Biddlecombe and Henrietta Knight from past generations. 

Doyle did so much to advertise herself on the track in 2020. From riding a five-timer at Windsor, something most male jockeys haven’t done, to that big race Ascot double, she has really raised the bar for female riders.

They say good horses make good jockeys, and Doyle would be the first to admit that. She again replaced Frankie Dettori on Dame Malliot and landed a second July Festival victory at Newmarket aboard the Champs Elysees mare this summer. 

Thanks to that high-profile victory, Doyle is definitely a go-to option for a number of British Flat trainers now. Chief among those are the Archie Watson, Ed Vaughan and Alan King stables.

She rode Royal Ascot and Champions Day winners for the latter. King’s yard always has something for the major handicaps on the level. Two of Doyle’s group successes in 2020 came when piloting the Roger Charlton trained Extra Elusive too. 

There have also been rides for John Gosden, who is now looking to share his license with son Thady moving forward. Reading fellow female jockey and horse racing pundit Hayley Turner’s articles on MBet blog, she expects even more from Doyle in the saddle this year.

If she can capitalise on the useful connections she has made last season, then that is perfectly possible. Doyle has already enjoyed high-profile rides overseas, partnering True Self to Neom Turf Cup glory on the Saudi Cup card in the Middle East for Irish trainer Willie Mullins back in February. 

Generous prize money on offer at Riyadh gave her a share of almost £440,000 shows she can handle the pressure of riding in valuable races. Emulating her partner Marquand and winning a Classic would be an obvious goal. 

As anyone who watched The Derby at Epsom Downs on TV last summer can attest, anything can happen even in the most prestigious and historic horse races. Doyle is clearly comfortable on big stages, so why not dream big and aim to become the first female jockey to ride a Classic winner? 

With a Group 1 winner already under her belt, plus valuable international experience gained in Hong Kong and the Middle East in the meantime, everything is in place for her to deliver even more success. Keep an eye on Doyle.