May 10, 2019 News
HOLLIE DOYLE has established herself over the last couple of seasons as one of the most talented and tactically astute riders in the weighing room.
Doyle has also shown she is tough, overcoming a series of injuries – such as knocking out most of her teeth in a fall at Haydock last year – to record impressive winner stats and bag major prizes for trainer Archie Watson.
Doyle teams up with Watson in the Lingfield Derby Trial on Saturday when they will be represented by Nate The Great. We caught up with Doyle to discuss her weekend rides, the progress of female jockeys and to get the lowdown on Watson’s juveniles.
You ride Nate The Great in the Lingfield Derby Trial on Saturday. What are the vibes like for him?
I’m really looking forward to it. He’s been working well at home and we think stepping up in distance is really going to suit him. He’s going there ready to run his best race, it’s not a case of it being a trial and hoping that he’ll come on for it. He’ll be ready and we’re hoping for a big run.
Nate The Great is 66-1 for the Investec Derby next month. Is Epsom still a possibility for him?
I think that’s in the back of our minds – it is a trial after all. If he produces a big performance in a Derby trial then you’d have to think about going for the Derby with him at Epsom. It’ll all depend on how he runs at Lingfield but it’s an exciting position to be in.
You are not hanging around at Lingfield as you are also riding at Ascot. How do you rate your chances in the Victoria Cup?
Yes, I’m dashing from Lingfield across to Ascot for the Victoria Cup and the last race so I hope it’s a big day. Kaeso put in a good performance to finish second at Ripon last time and is on the same handicap mark, so hopefully he’s got an each-way chance with a bit of luck.
You also ride in the final race for female riders. What do you expect from your mount Air Force Amy?
I know she’s one connections think will run a good race. She hasn’t won yet but she’s put in a few good performances and hasn’t got much weight to carry.
Travel makes up a big part of any jockeys’ career, but how do you cope with it all?
The riding is easy and I’d go anywhere to ride, particularly if it’s a good horse. It’s the travelling that’s not so much fun and it can take it out of you with long days and lots of driving. That said, everyone who wants to be a jockey has to do it and you have to do it to take the rides; that’s the reality of it so you deal with it.
You are one of a number of talented female riders in Britain and Ireland. What do you make of the progress female jockeys have made in the last few years?
I think it’s a great thing and in general we’re getting a lot more recognition now. I think it comes down to a change of attitude in people but also because there isn’t that divide in ability any more. You can watch a race and there would be nothing to tell you whether it was a man or a woman riding the horse, and that’s a good thing at the end of the day.
Racing is an unusual sport in that male and female sportspeople compete against each other regularly on level terms. Is that something we sometimes underestimate?
It’s really no big deal. You know that’s going to be the case when you start and it’s something you quickly get used to. In fact, it makes it all the more satisfying when you are riding winners and doing well.
You ride a lot for up-and-coming training star Archie Watson. Does it have a feel of something a bit different and a bit special there?
Very much so. He’s very good to ride for and it’s all very straightforward down there which makes my job so easy. The horses are so well trained and straightforward to deal with you can focus on going out and trying to win races. The two-year-olds are taught properly and got ready at home so you know you’ll be ready come the races.
Archie Watson has been provided you with a number of good rides, such as Nate The Great. What has that support meant to you?
It’s been really exciting. Archie doesn’t have any doubts in me and that’s invaluable to have from your boss. He never gives you anything to worry about and has never had any concerns about putting me on his good horses in big races.
And, finally, Archie Watson’s stable is associated with classy two-year-olds. Which one has caught your eye most this year?
I’d have to say Lady Kermit. She’s been extremely good in both her starts so far and everything we’ve done at home with her we like. Hopefully she’s a Queen Mary filly for Royal Ascot.