Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle guides us through the pick of her rides this weekend, which includes the progressive Came From The Dark in the Palace House Stakes and Albadri in the 2000 Guineas.
The new Flat season promises to be my most exciting so far, so I’m delighted to be sharing my journey with you in my exclusive new column.
I’m out to achieve more top-level success and though it’s a tough challenge, I’m determined to give it my best shot to become the first female Champion Jockey.
I’ll be running the rule over my weekend rides and my best chances at our fantastic festivals this summer, as well as sharing my own thoughts on the star performers in all the big races, starting with the Guineas meeting at Newmarket.
Hoping Dark can light up Guineas Day
CAME FROM THE DARK is the new kid on the block in the sprinting division’s top league but is well worth his place in the Group 3 Betfair Palace House Stakes (2.25) on the first day of an exciting Classic weekend at Newmarket.
He doesn’t have that many miles on the clock for a five-year-old but gives me the feeling he is up to winning a race at this level, so I’m really looking forward to getting back on board. His trainer Ed Walker has always thought a lot of him and he certainly gave me a lovely feel at Newbury, finishing strongly to win a Class 2 handicap.
That will have done his confidence the world of good and I’m happy to be drawn alongside the likely favourite Lazuli, who likes to go forward. My only concern is whether he will handle the track, but if he does he’ll be doing his best work at the finish.
I’m also hopeful that EMBOUR can run well for Ruth Carr in the Betfair Exchange Handicap (4.15) on the back of his win at Redcar. I feel like I’m rekindling an old friendship as I used to ride him in his work when I was an apprentice at Richard Hannon’s and can’t see why he won’t handle the track.
Relishing My First Guineas Ride
Although I’m under no illusions about the task ahead of me, I’m really looking forward to my first ride in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on Jane Chapple-Hyam’s ALBADRI. He’s an outsider, but just to take part in a Classic will be a wonderful experience for me
I rode Albadri in the Saudi Arabian Derby, which was another great experience even though he wasn’t himself out there. I’ll be riding him to pass a few horses in the later stages on Saturday and hope he can at least come out of the race with some credit.
Aidan O’Brien’s likely favourite Wembley ran a solid race in the Dewhurst, coping well with the demands of this track and should give Ryan Moore a great ride, but does have something to prove. For starters, he has never encountered ground this quick and must prove that he truly gets a mile.
Master Of The Seas, on the other hand, is already a winner over this course and distance, impressing William Buick enough in the Craven Stakes to choose him over the smart One Ruler. I rode in that trial and was impressed by the way the colt got the job done, despite doing it the hard way.
Big day for the boss at Salisbury
I’m hoping to make it a day to remember at Salisbury on Sunday for my boss, owner Imad Alsagar, who sends his stallion Decorated Knight’s first runner to the track in a fillies’ conditions stakes (1.00).
SILVER BULLET LADY has been progressing nicely for her trainer Roger Charlton and is ready to step onto a racecourse in what looks an ideal starting point on a fair track so close to home.
I’ve been to Beckhampton a couple of times to ride her work and expect her to run well. A half-sister to eight winners, she has a pleasing attitude and it would be amazing for Imad’s Blue Diamond Stud if she could get Decorated Knight off to a flying start.
Classic Glory within Tom’s Grasp
Though I’ll be in action at Salisbury on Sunday, I’ll be glued to the TV screen to shout on my fiancé Tom Marquand in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas.
Tom has a plum ride on SACRED for William Haggas, who really impressed me in winning the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago – a key trial. Ryan Moore rode a beautiful race on her that day and the way she put the race to bed with one burst of speed was the hallmark of a classy filly.
I also liked the way she pricked her ears approaching the line, suggesting there is a lot more under the bonnet than she was letting on. She has more experience than the favourite Santa Barbara, which is important in a race like this, and should have no problem seeing out the mile.
Fully focussed on fight for Jockeys’ title
Becoming Champion Jockey would be the stuff of dreams and I’m planning to give it everything in trying to make it happen. In all honesty, it would be nothing short of a miracle if I were to be crowned Champion come October, but that doesn’t stop me from trying!
With Archie Watson and my boss Imad Alsagar behind me, I know I can look forward to riding a lot of good horses in the top races this summer, and I’m also blessed to have the support of many other loyal trainers and owners. I’ll travel anywhere for a winning chance!
It’s going to be tough to match strides with the title holder Oisin Murphy and William Buick, who both have big powerful stables behind them with hundreds of horses. Tom (Marquand) has made a flying start since coming back from Australia and also has a big trainer to ride for in William Haggas.
Despite that, I’m happy with my core fitness and have the momentum of nearly 60 winners behind me since the turn of the year following a double at Chelmsford City on Thursday. I worked hard on my strength and fitness in the gym over the winter and that will stand me in good stead for the battles ahead.