JOCKEY James Doyle has made an electric start to the new Flat season and will be out to build on it further at the prestigious York Dante meeting this week.
It all started on the opening day for Doyle, who partnered Addeybb to an emphatic Lincoln success for trainer William Haggas, with whom he has established a powerful alliance.
Doyle spoke to us about his rides at York, some of his recent eyecatchers and the chances of Addeybb landing the Lockinge at the weekend.
You finished second in the French 2,000 Guineas on Sunday. What did you make of Hey Gaman’s run?
It was quite a messy race but I thought I probably had the best pitch in the race and he’ll improve again as well. He’s a tough horse and while it’s gutting to come so close without winning, I was really pleased and impressed with how he fought back to get second in the last few strides. It was a good performance from him and I think there’s more to come as well.
Banksea is your first ride at York on Wednesday. How are things with him?
He ran some nice races in Dubai and is in really good shape. He’s working well at home and did a nice bit with Hawkbill the other day, so you’d have to be pretty positive about him. I think the track’ll be fine for him and I’d like to think we’ll have a good run from him.
Sir Dancealot looks to have a bit on his plate in the Duke of York Stakes. Will you be looking to pick up the pieces with him?
He has a bit to find on ratings but he’s going to be turning up there in excellent form. His last run was pretty good and he’s a horse who likes to come from off the pace to challenge. Hopefully if the go quite hard, like they can do at York, he can pick a few of them off in the closing stages and run into a place.
Give And Take looks an interesting runner in the Musidora Stakes. What do you think?
It was a good run from her first time this season when I thought the ground was a bit too much on the easy side. She needed the run that day too as she got quite tired in the last half a furlong. I think it was a decent race that day – it rode like a decent race – so she’s more than worthy of her slot in the Musidora.
Give And Take is trained by William Haggas, who you have struck up a good relationship with. What do you put that down to?
William has got his horses in really good form and it helps we’ve managed to get a lot of good winners early on. It kicked off with Addeybb winning the Lincoln before going on to win the Group 2 at Sandown. We had a really good All-Weather Finals day and when you’re having winners it’s great and it makes such a difference.
World Order and Reverend Jacobs are interesting rides too. How do you rate them?
It was a good run first time when World Order chased home No Lippy, who won the Lily Agnes Stakes at Chester last week and looks to be going to Royal Ascot. You’d like to think he can build on that run and it’s a really nice ride to pick up. I’m looking forward to it. Reverend Jacobs is a nice progressive horse too, so I’m hoping for a good day.
Mildenberger goes for the Dante Stakes. Do you think he can land the prize?
It was a good performance from him in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket. The leader got a bit of a march on me that day and I loved the attitude of my horse to chase him down. He doesn’t do anything quick and looks the sort who’s going to stay well, which is a real plus. His attitude is going to stand him in good stead in a lot of nice races this season.
Addeybb goes for the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury at the weekend. Do you think he can step up to Group 1 level and score?
The Lockinge is the plan and he’s a worthy favourite in my opinion. That division is quite open and it’s there for an improver to come through a make his mark. He’s certainly that type. We’ll have to see how he gets on against the big boys but he’s certainly one I’m excited about for the weekend and beyond. He’s a very good moving horse, so I would think he’d be okay on a faster surface. He’s by Pivotal, who has a strong influence for slower ground, and he handles that sort of ground well. We’ll see how he handles the faster ground and that’ll probably determine where he goes for the rest of the season.
Young Rascal landed the Chester Vase last week. Do you see him as a genuine Derby contender?
Yes, I think so. I was really pleased with him. I was draw well but he wasn’t that quick away so I was a bit further back than I wanted to be and we all know what Chester’s like with potential traffic problems. I think if I’d been in a bit of a better position – say one back from the front and one off the fence – he’d have been a very impressive winner. He’s going to get the trip no problem and he’s very relaxed, which is important for Epsom.
And, finally, what did you make of the performance of Dreamfield at Ascot last week?
It was a real good performance and just outside the track record as well. He’d been off the track a long time but there had been talk of him being aimed at the Commonwealth Cup last year. It was a really classy performance and he got a bit tired at the end as well. There’s improvement in him fitness-wise and he’s massively exciting. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes next and maybe the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot may be an option as he’s very quick.