Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle reflects on a second place at Chester and gives us the lowdown on her rides at Ascot on Friday and Saturday.
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 blog.
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. I’m looking forward to the two-day meeting at Ascot, where I’ll be riding Harrison Point in the Victoria Cup.
Out to prove a ‘point’ in Victoria Cup
The Victoria Cup (3.40) at Ascot on Saturday is a fiercely competitive handicap but I’m hopeful of a big run at a big price from Archie Watson’s HARRISON POINT. We’ve always thought a lot of this horse, who ran well around Wolverhampton behind two nice types last time.
He ran a lovely race in the Britannia Stakes at the Royal Meeting last year but just didn’t see out the mile in more testing ground. A fast run 7f with better underfoot conditions should see him in the best light and I’m happy enough to be drawn in the middle in stall 16.
Friday 7th May 1:00pm
Outbox ready to post another big run
Archie Watson’s OUTBOX is a bonny horse who has been working well and we’d like to think he’s good enough to win a Listed race for Hambleton Racing, so the Buckhounds Stakes (2.30) at Ascot on Saturday looks an ideal opportunity for him to at least earn some Black Type.
It’s a hot race and it won’t be easy turning Newbury form around with Simon and Ed Crisford’s gelding Without A Fight, who got the better of us in the John Porter Stakes last time. Finishing third in a Group 3 wasn’t a bad effort though, and he’ll enjoy a bit more cut in the ground this time.
Expect better from Louganini
It was lovely to ride a winner for my boss Imad Alsagar and trainer Roger Charlton last weekend and I’m hopeful LOUGANINI can follow up for them in the Tote+ Exclusively At Tote.co.uk Handicap (4.15) at Ascot on Saturday.
The ground at Pontefract was just too quick for him on last month’s reappearance. He wouldn’t let himself down on it but didn’t have a hard race.
He’s been a bit fiery but seems to have turned a corner mentally and kept on well enough over 1m4f at Newmarket in the autumn to suggest he’ll really enjoy stepping up in trip on much more favourable ground.
Swallow heads nice book of rides on Friday
I enjoy riding out for Sir Michael Stoute when I get the chance so it’s great to be given the ride on MY SWALLOW in the tote+ Placepots Pay More Handicap (4.40) at Ascot on Friday – one of five nice rides on the card.
He seemed to bump into one at Newcastle last month when he finished second to Godolphin’s Unforgotten but that was his first run of the year and his first since having a wind operation, so he’s entitled to come on for it if he handles the ground and the step up to 1m should be ideal.
Archie Watson’s GOING PLACES was too keen at Newmarket. He tends to be headstrong so the hood might just help him settle in the tote+ Biggest Dividends Handicap (3.30). He’s usually quick away but ideally, I’d like to sit behind one and get a nice tow into the race. He definitely has the speed for 6f but we’ll have to wait and see if he enjoys easy ground as he’s never raced on it before.
I’m also hopeful of a good run from ROLFE REMBRANDT for my good friend Michael Scudamore in the three-year-old handicap (4.05) over 6f. He won a soft ground nursery at Newbury last year so should enjoy the conditions.
Marco Botti’s GEREMIA ran well enough on debut at Haydock to have a chance in a tight little three-runner maiden (2.30) and it’ll be interesting to see how Karl Burke’s STYLISH PERFORMER goes on his first run on turf (3.00) after winning twice on the All-Weather. He’s an improving horse from a top stable who gets weight from all his rivals.
Thrilled with Trueshan’s Chester return
I couldn’t be happier with my Champions’ Day hero TRUESHAN who ran a blinder in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester on Thursday.
Giving 5lb to dual Group 1 winner Japan over a trip short of his best – and on a track that didn’t play to his strengths – was never going to be easy but he fought all the way to the line to finish within three parts of a length of Aidan O’Brien’s star.
I didn’t want to knock him about on his first run of the year and he’s entitled to come on a bundle, especially when he steps up in trip on a more conventional track. He’s a bit spider-like – very gangly – so Chester wasn’t ideal. Alan (King) won’t risk him on fast ground so options are open as to where he might go next.
Epsom should hold no fears for spirit
I was really impressed by YOUTH SPIRIT’S win in the Chester Vase on Wednesday for my fiancé Tom Marquand and trainer Andrew Balding. We’ve both been so busy that we haven’t had chance to talk about it yet, but I know Tom will be looking forward to the possibility of riding him in the Derby.
Being by Camelot, there was always a danger he’d find Chester sharp enough but I loved the way he outstayed them. Like most of his rivals at Epsom, he will have to prove himself on such a demanding track but the way he handled the undulations at Newmarket and in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last season tells me he’s well enough balanced to cope with it.