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Doyle and King take over at the top with Trueshan

The Goodwood Cup has, in recent years, been a race whose title is always spoken alongside the name of just one horse – Stradivarius.

The beloved chestnut’s long-time rider, Frankie Dettori, is next in that sentence, and the ever-statesmanlike John Gosden surely follows.

Little had changed as the scene was set for the 2021 renewal of the race, if anything the aforementioned trio were absorbing more of the limelight than ever as they prepared to jointly bid for a record-breaking fifth success.

The record ripe for breaking was of course set by Stradivarius himself, who has dominated both the contest and the division throughout his unusually long career.

But then the rain came, heavy and relentless, and the limelight refocused on another of racing’s out and out stars – Hollie Doyle.

Trueshan pulling up after his Group One success
Trueshan pulling up after his Group One success (John Walton/PA)

Doyle was booked to ride Trueshan, the mud-loving stayer trained by Alan King, who is more readily associated with the National Hunt circuit having saddled 15 winners at the Cheltenham Festival.

The weather had left the ground not unlike a wet day at Prestbury Park, however, and that inspired punters to back Trueshan in their droves, as he ultimately returned as the 6-5 favourite, with Stradivarius a ground-enforced absentee.

The gelding ran exuberantly in the early stages of the two-mile affair, fighting with the diminutive Doyle and making matters harder that necessary when refusing to settle into the steady pace set by the race leaders.

Reluctant to be boxed in by the rail, Doyle cut forward to cruise in the slipstream of those ahead of her and masterfully eased the bay into the rhythm he had been opposing.

From there she was perfectly poised to throw down her challenge, taking up the lead with two furlongs left to travel and driving Trueshan across the line with his nearest rival three and three-quarters of a length behind him.

The second-placed horse, Ismail Mohammed’s Away He Goes, earned a smattering applause for his valiant run in defeat at written-off odds of 33-1, but Doyle was received by a sizeable Goodwood crowd like a favourite daughter on sports day.

Celebration time following Trueshan's success in the Goodwood Cup
Celebration time following Trueshan’s success in the Goodwood Cup (John Walton/PA)

King, who was leaving the glamour of Goodwood on Tuesday evening to search for new National Hunt performers, admitted the pre-race pressure had been intense.

“I’ve been very calm all morning and then suddenly when John took out Stradivarius we got shorter and shorter,” he said.

“The nerves really started to kick in, I haven’t been this nervous in a long time, I can tell you.”

Looking to further big days with his stable star, King said: “He is in the Lonsdale (Cup, at York) and he is in the Irish St Leger (at the Curragh). I will talk to the boys, but we will probably take him out in the morning at the forfeit stage.

“The Cadran (ParisLongchamp, on Arc weekend) will probably be his big target in the autumn.”

Doyle, whose calm, affable disposition never seems to waver, even found herself uncharacteristically anxious ahead of her ride.

“I never really feel pressure and I never get nervous, but today something did come over me as I didn’t want to let everyone down,” she said.

“I was very confident, but I haven’t had many Group One experiences, especially on a 10-11 odds-on shot, so I was feeling it a bit more than normal.”

Hollie Doyle following victory in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup
Hollie Doyle following victory in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup (John Walton/PA)

Doyle claimed a first Group One success on Champions Day at Ascot in 2020, with Glen Shiel the hero in question as he took the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

“When I got a taste of the success at Ascot on Glen Shiel, I got a bit more hungry and determined to want it more often,” she said.

A Goodwood Cup triumph seemed to invoke the same appetite for glory once again, as Doyle rolled on to a second success aboard Lord Riddiford in the Back To Goodwood Handicap, and a third when winning the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes with Sisters In The Sky.

“This is one of the best days I’ve ever had,” she said.

“I got some buzz off that, I don’t get too high or too low but when you get experiences like that, you’ve got to make the most of it haven’t you?

“It’s very special, I’ll still be smiling in the next, I’ll be smiling all week!”

Doyle deserves to smile, King deserves to smile, and the authors of the Goodwood script can smile too, for whilst it seemed the star of their cast was sorely missing, in this instance the understudy proved to be every bit as good.

Hollie Doyle stars with Goodwood hat-trick

Hollie Doyle was the queen of Goodwood as she followed up her Group One triumph by completing a fine hat-trick with additional successes aboard Lord Riddiford and Sisters In The Sky.

It was on the last-named colt that she cemented the feat, producing the 13-2 chance to lead approaching the distance in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes and preserve a healthy lead to the line, scoring by a cosy but reduced length for trainer Roger Teal.

A jubilant Doyle said: “It’s been an amazing day and brilliant to win on this colt for Roger. He settled a lot better today, and after hitting a flat spot saw it out well. I just needed to give him one behind the saddle and he was away.”

Teal enthused: “Hollie had never ridden a winner for me before, but what a way to get off the mark. When we saw the bad forecast and the ground change we were worried, but decided to give it a punt. When you look at the form of this horse, it has worked out tremendously well.”

John Quinn dominated the Back To Goodwood Handicap when the Malton trainer sent out Doyle’s mount Lord Riddiford and El Astronaute to give him a one-two in the five-furlong sprint.

Just minutes on from her Goodwood Cup triumph on Trueshan, Doyle swooped to conquer on Lord Riddiford (13-2) who forged two and a half lengths clear of his stablemate, with Desert Safari and Sunday Sovereign a close-up third and fourth.

Lord Riddiford is owned by twin brothers James and Andrew Derry from Newark, whose love affair with Goodwood was sparked by the same horse.

James Derry explained: “Our first winner was this horse here at Goodwood three years ago. I’d been coming to the course for 35 years and dreamed of having a winner here.”

Quinn attributed the change in going as being a huge part of the grey’s success and observed: “The ground was very quick for him in Ireland last time, and the bit of ease today made a huge difference.”

Doyle said: “He’s a very good horse on his day and liked the conditions. He probably could have jumped better, and I had to work to keep him balanced and retain my position. But when we hit the rising ground he really picked up and shot clear.”

David Menuisier’s Migration was a ready winner of the opening Unibet “You’re On” Chesterfield Cup Handicap after throwing down a late challenge.

The five-year-old made light of the heavy ground and built on a promising seasonal debut to strike as 2-1 favourite under William Buick.

Leaving the stalls slowly and racing at the rear of the field for much of the contest, the gelding remained on the far rail as a small group broke off in search of better ground on the stands side and cut through his rivals to gain the lead with half a furlong remaining.

Driven out under Buick, the bay was an eventual two-length winner over Ed Walker’s Caradoc in second and Roger Fell’s Cockalorum a further length and three-quarters behind in third.

“I wasn’t worried, I’m absolutely delighted,” Menuisier said.

“I’ve run him over a mile but I really felt that a mile (and) two (furlongs) is his favourite trip, so it was just a matter of where.

“He should have run at Newmarket the other day but the ground, I felt, was too quick, so I ruled him out.

“He is very straightforward and he has a good turn of foot so he can get out of trouble, what he doesn’t like is having to do too much.

“About two furlongs out I was thinking ‘come on William’, but he probably felt that he had a massive tank underneath him.”

Anghaam (7-2) benefitted from a canny ride by Jim Crowley to make all in the fillies’ handicap, holding Zwelela by a comfortable length and a half.

Winning trainer Richard Hannon said: “It was a game effort, just like the way she won at Newmarket earlier in the season. She’s all heart.”

In a reduced field of only six, well-supported favourite Urban Violet could only manage fourth.

Buick then sealed an opening-day double when taking the World Pool EBF Fillies’ Handicap aboard Hugo Palmer’s Lovely Breeze.

The filly struck at 3-1 in the seven-furlong contest when racing furthest from the rail, crossing the line a length and three-quarters ahead of Rod Millman’s Crazy Luck.

Trueshan powers to Goodwood Cup glory

Trueshan claimed Group One glory for Alan King and Hollie Doyle with a decisive success in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup.

A runaway winner on Champions Day at Ascot in October, the five-year-old made a promising start to the current campaign when runner-up to Japan at Chester in May before missing an intended appearance in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot due to unsuitable ground.

Trueshan instead contest the following week’s Northumberland Plate, where he was far from disgraced in finishing sixth under a huge weight, and everything fell perfectly into place for him on the Sussex Downs.

With the rain-softened ground leading to the withdrawal of four-time Goodwood Cup hero Stradivarius, King’s charge was the 6-5 favourite to provide his multiple Grade One-winning trainer with a first top-level success on the Flat.

Trueshan raced keenly for much of the two-mile journey, but moved to the lead early in the home straight and saw off the brave effort of the largely-unconsidered 33-1 shot Away He Goes by just under four lengths, giving a jubilant Doyle her second Group One win.

Doyle said: “It’s incredible. He’s been in my mind every day since Champions Day, when we could get back together – these are the days you do it for.

“He was pretty fresh early on, they were going no gallop and I expected there to be a bit of pace on and at halfway I thought ‘I’ve got to do something about this, I’m not getting trapped on the rail, they’re going to sprint finish’.

Trueshan in action at Goodwood
Trueshan in action at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

“I managed to slide onto the girths of the leaders, he completely dropped the bridle with me and the further he went, the better. When I hit the rising ground, he went again.

“It’s a staying challenge and when I hit the rising ground he was gone again.

“He’s a superstar on this ground. I got some buzz off that – I don’t get too high or too low, but when you get experiences like that you’ve got to make the most of it.”

King is perhaps more renowned for winners at Cheltenham, but is becoming an increasingly potent force on the Flat.

He said: “It’s no better but it’s right up there with the Champion Hurdles and things, of course it is.

“All I want to do is train proper horses and I don’t mind whether they’re jumpers or not, I’m not giving up the jumping just yet!”

He went on: “We’re out of practice a bit, I haven’t been coming racing much over the past 18 months and I don’t think I’ve ever saddled this horse to win – I was nearly told to stay at home!

“He was just a little bit keen but he can be like that – thank God we went to Newcastle because if he’d come straight from Chester he’d have been ferocious today.

“I was glad he had a proper race there and we were able to let him down and then build him back up, a lot of people thought we were mad running him (at Newcastle) without a flat weight but he needed to go somewhere.”

Trainer Ismail Mohammed was thrilled with the effort of Away He Goes.

He said: “As we watched we thought he was going to win. We are very proud of him. Maybe we will head to France for a race one month from now that we had pencilled in.”

His rider Jim Crowley was equally pleased, saying: “He was travelling better than the winner who outstayed him on that ground. His form in Dubai was very good, so it was not a total surprise.”

Hollie Doyle gallops to 100th winner of the year

Hollie Doyle chalked up her 100th win of 2021 as Oakenshield triumphed at Yarmouth on Wednesday evening.

The rider registered 151 winners in 2020, second to only Ben Curtis, in what was a curtailed campaign due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Doyle became the first rider this year to hit the century mark as the Linda Stubbs-trained Oakenshield prevailed by three-quarters of a length in the first division of the QuinnBet Handicap.

The Flat jockeys’ championship runs from May 1 to October 16, and Doyle currently sits in fourth, with reigning champion Oisin Murphy setting the pace.

She took her annual tally to 101 when she completed a double as Tom Ward’s 13-8 favourite Moonshiner won the closing race on the card, the QuinnCasino Handicap, by a head.

Doyle later posted a tweet, which read: “Over the moon to have hit 100 winners this year, massive thanks to all trainers, owners & connections for the support so far!”

Tiempo triumph seals Brighton double for Hollie Doyle

Hollie Doyle was seen at her best when making all the running to give Arenas Del Tiempo a first career success at Brighton.

The Simon Dow-trained three-year-old may have been the 8-1 outsider of four but the daughter of Footstepsinthesand stuck to her task well to open her account at the seventh attempt.

Arenas Del Tiempo was keen in the early stages but she had enough left to shrug off the challenge of the 11-10 favourite Celestial Point and take the the Brighton Supports Racing Staff Week Handicap by two and a half lengths to complete a double for Doyle.

“That was very nice and wonderful for Robert Moss, her owner and breeder, because her dam Vezere was one of the first horses he ever owned,” said Dow.

“She was not a winner and he’s persisted breeding with her. She hasn’t had much luck up until this one, so it’s really nice Vezere has finally bred her first winner – a lovely filly by Footstepsinthesand and given a great ride by Hollie.

“It was tremendous and she’s so good with these horses who are a little bit keen. She gets them to settle and it worked out fantastic.”

Iva Reflection (10-1) got Doyle off to a flier when taking the Racing Staff Week 2021 Handicap.

Doyle always had the Linda Stubbs-trained four-year-old in a handy position and he quickened nicely to lead in the last 100 yards and score by three-quarters of a length from Winnetka.

Kartvelian appreciated the step up to a mile to register a second course success.

Kartvelian (right) gets up in the closing stages to win the Follow racingwelfare On Instagram Handicap
Kartvelian (right) gets up in the closing stages to win the Follow racingwelfare On Instagram Handicap (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Having opened her account over seven furlongs at the Sussex track two starts ago, the daughter of Tamayuz needed the extra distance to strike again in the Follow @racingwelfare On Instagram Handicap.

Trainer James Fanshawe thought the three-year-old could not win at one point, but was delighted by the way Kartvelian (15-2) responded to the urgings of 5lb-claiming apprentice Rhys Clutterbuck.

Hitting the front in the final half-furlong, Kartvelian crossed the line three-quarters of a length ahead of Almadrina.

“It was great because I thought we’d got no chance at the bottom of the hill and she picked up really well. I think she enjoys a bit of ease in the ground and stepping up in distance,” said Fanshawe.

“It was good for her owner Andrew Turner, who has been a long-term support. She’s just taken time to get things together but she’s improving and she’s coming on nicely.

“She’s in the (Tattersalls) sales next week but I’ll review things with her owner.”

Toofi (right) narrowly lands the spoils in the  Racing With Pride Handicap
Toofi (right) narrowly lands the spoils in the Racing With Pride Handicap (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Toofi (11-1) won for only the second time in 52 starts when coming out on top following a terrific finish to the Racing With Pride Handicap.

The 10-year-old’s only previous success came at Newmarket in September 2013 when he was trained by Roger Varian.

With John Butler since the 2017 season, Toofi finally repaid the Newmarket handler with a game neck victory over Productive.

However, winning rider David Egan was banned for two days (July 13 and 14) for using his whip above the permitted level.

Glorious Journey strikes Criterion gold

Glorious Journey went one better than two years ago when winning the Close Brothers Criterion Stakes at Newmarket.

While trainer Charlie Appleby was at the Curragh overseeing the Irish Derby win of Hurricane Lane, the handler was also on the mark closer to home in the Group Three.

James Doyle gets a particularly good tune out of the six-year-old, who held off Motakhayyel by a length to win at 9-2.

“I love him to bits. He is a dude and he just turns up. I was a little bit concerned with the going being pretty quick, but he is moving better than ever and he floated going down to the start,” said Doyle.

“We’ve tried Group Ones before, but we are pretty realistic with him and he punches away solidly at Group Three level and he can produce a proper Group Two performance when it all goes well.”

Appleby and Doyle doubled up with Sayyida (6-5 favourite) in the Close Brothers Fillies’ Handicap.

Classic winner Logician was sent off the 5-6 favourite for the Close Brothers Fred Archer Stakes but could finish only second to Outbox.

Hollie Doyle was able to take up the running on Archie Watson’s Outbox some way from home but Rab Havlin appeared to have the move covered on Logician.

However, he could not get by the 6-1 winner and while he closed to within a length again at the line, Logician never looked like going by.

Outbox and Hollie Doyle had too much for Logician
Outbox and Hollie Doyle had too much for Logician (Mike Egerton/PA)

Charlie Turner, spokesman for the owners Hambleton Racing, said: “He has been solid all year and run some solid races and he deserved this Listed race today.

“After running him on soft ground at Ascot and Newbury, Hollie said he needed it a bit quicker. We were confident today even though we were up against Logician.

“He is a tough horse. I’m not sure where we are going to go from here. I was hoping we might look at the Ebor or something like that, but Archie will make that decision where he will go.”

For 2019 St Leger hero Logician, the future is less certain.

John Gosden, who trains the horse with son Thady, said: “He was desperately ill. His life was saved by the Newmarket Equine Hospital as he nearly died of peritonitis so it is probably slightly a miracle he has come back to racing. He won his comeback race last year then he lost his action at York in very heavy ground.

“We will consider what we want to do. That (retirement) is obviously a possibility. He has done nothing wrong here, but the old Logician would have won this for fun.

“He has come back and tried hard and I like the way he was closing at the end and I’ve no doubt (with) a little bit further he might have got there, but that is not the point. We will re-group on him.”

Doyle doubled up on Mark Johnston’s Mr Excellency (4-1) in the Close Brothers Handicap.

Richard Hannon’s maiden System caused a 22-1 upset in the Maureen Brittain Memorial Empress Fillies’ Stakes.

Second on her debut to a promising type in Alflaila, she took a huge leap forward to win the Listed contest, which featured several fillies who had run at Royal Ascot.

Two of those, Desert Dreamer and Cachet, were in the firing line deep inside the final furlong but System and Pat Dobbs flew home to win by a neck and three-quarters of a length.

Martin Hughes, joint-owner, said: “That was a pleasant surprise. She ran well at Salisbury behind what they think is a good one there. We thought we had a chance and the yard didn’t ignore it but the market did. I’m quite pleased with that outcome.

“She looks like she will get further as she finished well and was staying well. She is a lock away for three.”

Maureen Brittain’s husband, Clive, a former stalwart of Newmarket, was a rare visitor to present the trophies.

Hannon had already made it on to the scoreboard as Anghaam (5-2), a daughter of Guineas winners in Frankel and Natagora, showed a pleasing attitude in winning the Close Brothers Asset Finance Fillies’ Handicap.

Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to winning owner Shadwell Estate Company, said: “She is a beautifully-bred filly.

“She is not short of speed as both her mother and father won a Guineas. She had a bit in hand there and there is more to come. ”

The Gosdens’ Inspiral was sent off 2-1 joint-favourite for the Close Brothers Maiden Fillies’ Stakes and showed a very smart turn of foot to win by a length and a half.

“She is a Frankel out of a filly that was second in a 1000 Guineas (Starscope) so she should stay a mile. I think for experience we will probably take another small step before going up in grade,” said Thady Gosden.

Glen Shiel raring to go on return to scene of his finest hour

Glen Shiel returns to the scene of his finest hour, with conditions set to be very much in his favour, in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The seven-year-old landed the British Champions Sprint on soft ground at the Berkshire track last October, giving rider Hollie Doyle a first Group One success in the process, and the duo will team up again in the six-furlong feature on the final day of the Royal meeting.

Glen Shiel already has a run under his belt this term, having finished fourth in the Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh last month, and Simon Turner, racing director for owners Hambleton Racing, reports Archie Watson’s charge to have progressed for the run.

Hollie Doyle will be aboard Glen Shiel once again
Hollie Doyle will be aboard Glen Shiel once again (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He said: “Obviously we welcome the rain at Ascot and he’s in great condition at home.

“He’s come on for his reappearance run in Ireland and we couldn’t be happier with him.”

Glen Shiel has shortened in the market for the Diamond Jubilee following the rain, and Turner thinks plenty more will support him with his ability to act on soft ground.

He added: “It was testing ground when he won there in the autumn and while he handles it, I don’t think he needs it. It probably just doesn’t inconvenience him as much as some of the others.

“We are excited to run him and I think plenty of people will latch on to Glen as he has that soft ground form, and he certainly deserves to be in the conversation.”

Dreams Of Dreams (nearest to camera) was just denied last year
Dreams Of Dreams (nearest to camera) was just denied last year (Julian Finney/PA)

Dream Of Dreams is reported to be in tip-top shape as he bids to atone for narrow defeats in the last two runnings of the race.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained sprinter failed by just a head to peg back Blue Point in 2019 and went down by the same margin to Hello Youmzain 12 months ago.

He did manage to get that elusive success at the highest level in Haydock’s Sprint Cup in September and warmed up for a third crack at this coveted prize with a smooth victory over Garrus at Windsor last month.

“He’s going very good at home,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail.

“He couldn’t be better, you just don’t know about the draw (three) but with 14 runners it shouldn’t make much difference.

“He’s working very well and he couldn’t be better.”

Nahaarr represents William Haggas
Nahaarr represents William Haggas (Steven Cargill/PA)

William Haggas thinks Nahaarr will be better with cut.

“Nahaarr ran a very good race in the Duke of York,” said the Newmarket handler.

“I think he might be a little bit better with a bit of cut in the ground. If they go fast and he can wait a bit I think he’ll come home well.”

Ventura Rebel was fifth behind Starman at York on his seasonal debut, but his excellent course form could put him in the picture.

His trainer Richard Fahey said: “He’s been to Ascot three times and he’s won there (at the May meeting), he’s been second (as a two-year-old in the Norfolk Stakes) and he’s been third (to Golden Horde in last year’s Commonwealth Cup).

“He loves the track and I was delighted with his comeback run at York, which doesn’t really suit him. He’s been training exceptionally well and while I’m not saying he’ll win, I won’t be shocked if he runs a big race.”

Royal Commando (centre, green/white cap) is one of two runners for trainer Charlie Hills
Royal Commando (centre, green/white cap) is one of two runners for trainer Charlie Hills (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Charlie Hills expects his two runners, Royal Commando and Garrus, to do themselves justice.

“Royal Commando’s win in the Cammidge Trophy has worked out well,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“We would have run in between in Ireland, but the ground wasn’t great so we’ve come straight here. He was fourth in the Commonwealth Cup last year and I’m happy with his training, so I think he should run well at a decent price.

“Garrus has really stepped up this year and I can see him running a huge race.”

Tim Easterby’s grey Art Power has sound claims, while the German-trained Namos and Irish Group Three winner Sonaiyla add further spice to an intriguing contest

Amtiyaz delight for Hollie Doyle in Copper Horse

Amtiyaz and Hollie Doyle just held off the late lunge of Jamie Spencer on Dubious Affair to win the Copper Horse Stakes.

Doyle broke her Royal Ascot duck last year on Scarlet Dragon – but that was in front of empty stands so this success will have meant just as much, coming as it did in front of a restricted crowd of 12,000.

What will have added to Doyle’s delight was that this came in the colours of Imad Al Sagar, her boss.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, Amtiyaz was having just his second start on turf, but having sat second throughout off a slow pace, Doyle was able to kick at the right time and it proved crucial as Dubious Affair was closing with every stride, before eventually going down by a head.

The 33-1 winner was also providing a second success on the day for the Gosdens, who landed the opening Queen Anne with the odds-on Palace Pier.

Doyle said: “It’s amazing. Last year was incredible but to have the crowd, and some of my family today, makes it even more special.

“I always ride for Mr Gosden with confidence and I knew his level of ability. He’d reached a bit of a ceiling on the all-weather, but he found more back on turf.

“Everything went smoothly and he nicked a few lengths by quickening – I knew he’d stay on well.”

Reshoun just held off the late lunge of Ryan Moore and M C Muldoon to give Ian Williams his second victory in three years in the Ascot Stakes.

Given the race is over two and a half miles it normally falls to a National Hunt trainer, but Williams is one of the most adept dual-purpose handlers in the land and proved it yet again.

Reshoun just hung on for victory
Reshoun just hung on for victory (Steven Paston/PA)

Sent off an unconsidered 66-1 shot in a field of 19, Reshoun only hit the front deep inside the final furlong after Frankie Dettori had made what looked a race-winning move on Golden Rules.

Ryan Moore began to fly from the clouds on Willie Mullins’ M C Muldoon, but the line came just in time for Reshoun and William Buick and they held on by a short head.

Rachael Blackmore finished fifth on Cape Gentleman, on what was her first Royal Ascot ride.

Williams said: “The current form of my horses is good. He ran a big race in the Chester Cup and I said to William the important thing is to get him out today as he’d been slack at the start.

“The boys at home had been working with him and I could not actually believe how sharp he was out of the gate. He was in front early, but then it was a case of if he stayed.

“He got taken off his feet a bit taken in. I actually thought he wasn’t staying, so I turned my attentions to Mancini and next time I looked for him he was plugging away and stayed strongly to the line.

“This horse has done Marwan (Koukash, owner) proud. He’d be wishing it was at Chester. He’s done me proud me, too!

“It’s tough to win any race here and the competitiveness of the whole meeting is only second to Cheltenham.

“He’ll probably going back to Chester. Marwan will be keen for him to go back there.”

However, there was a real sting in the tail for Buick afterwards, as the stewards deemed he was guilty of using his whip “above the permitted level and down the shoulder in the forehand from approaching the final two furlongs”.

The rider, who is currently tied at the top of the jockeys’ championship with Oisin Murphy, was suspended for 11 days and fined £1,150. His ban is due to start on June 29.

Juan Elcano bounced back to his best
Juan Elcano bounced back to his best (David Davies/PA)

Juan Elcano came with a rousing late run to win for the first time since his debut in the Wolferton Stakes.

Always highly regarded by Kevin Ryan, he finished fifth of 15 in Kameko’s 2000 Guineas but had seemingly failed to progress.

However, racing for the first time since a wind operation the son of Frankel once again showed what he was made of.

Sent off at 14-1, Juan Elcano looked to face a stiff task with two furlongs to run as there was still a wall of horses in front of him.

Tom Marquand had kicked clear by then on Joseph O’Brien’s Patrick Sarsfield and having had the run of the race he looked sure to oblige, only for Juan Elcano to sprout wings once in the clear.

Andrea Atzeni pushed him out with hands and heels to win by half a length, with Solid Stone, the 4-1 joint-favourite along with Patrick Sarsfield, back in third.

Ryan said: “We’ve always held him in the highest regard and he ran in some nice races as a three-year-old.

“This year I thought we had him back, but he disappointed first time out so we decided to tweak his wind – obviously it’s done the trick.

“He quickened up nicely today, he likes a nice pace to run at and got that today.”

Doyle hoping female influence can continue to grow at Ascot

Female riders are looking to have more mounts than ever at Royal Ascot next week, with Hollie Doyle hoping her exploits, along with those of Hayley Turner, will inspire others.

Horse racing is one of the few sports in which men and women compete on level terms and in the past five years, the number of rides for female jockeys during Royal Ascot has increased dramatically from just one in 2016 to 27 last year.

Turner and Doyle are likely to lead the way in 2021 with Nicola Currie, Megan Nicholls and Saffie Osborne also set to be in demand during the five-day festival.

Doyle became the third woman in history to celebrate a win during the prestigious meeting alongside Gay Kelleway and Hayley Turner when winning the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes on Scarlet Dragon in 2020.

Turner also enjoyed a victory aboard Onassis in the Sandringham Stakes last year, becoming the first multiple-winning woman rider at Royal Ascot.

In 2019, she also won the Sandringham on Thanks Be to register a first victory for a female jockey at the Royal Meeting for 32 years since Kelleway. Turner is down to ride the Charlie Fellowes-trained Onassis in the Group Two Duke of Cambridge Stakes on Wednesday.

Doyle told Great British Racing: “It’s great to see that there have been a lot more women competing at Royal Ascot in recent years.

“We are just as good as men given the opportunity and I hope that other women continue to work hard and pursue their dreams of working in racing.

“Riding a winner at a festival like Royal Ascot is a dream come true. I was inspired by Hayley and hope now I can inspire young people too.”

Nicholls, daughter of 12-time champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls, said: “It’s great to have seen Hayley and Hollie enjoy success at Royal Ascot over the last two years and I hope that this inspires other young people to pursue a career in racing.

“There are more and more opportunities for women in racing and their (Hayley and Hollie) success proves that.”

Mehmento books Royal Ascot ticket in Surrey Stakes

Mehmento delivered on his early-season promise to take Listed honours in the Play Coral ‘Racing-Super-Series’ For Free Surrey Stakes.

Hollie Doyle – completing an Epsom double after the earlier success of Corazon Espinado – was always going sweetly on the Archie Watson-trained favourite.

Runner-up in the Greenham Stakes and tried last time out in the French 2000 Guineas, the Mehmas colt was briefly threatened by Legal Attack but quickly eased clear when asked, winning by a ready two and three-quarter lengths as the 11-8 favourite.

Watson said: “I was delighted with him. We were quite worried about the ground because he hadn’t picked up on bad ground in France in the French Guineas, but Hollie said he handled it.

“He was always travelling well on it and at least now we know for the future.

“He stays the seven very well and I think he’s going to be versatile. I think he’s got the speed for six but on better ground he’ll get a mile as well.

“He’s shown today what he can do. I think he’s a serious horse. He’s one of the best I’ve trained.

“He’ll go to Ascot. We’ll have to have a few discussions on which race he’ll go for. It will either be the Commonwealth Cup or the Jersey, and the Jean Prat will probably be his main summer aim in France.”

Record-breaking Doyle eyes Oaks opportunity on Sherbet Lemon

Hollie Doyle is well used to rewriting the record books – and on Friday she is set to get another chance to make history when she partners Sherbet Lemon in the Cazoo Oaks.

At the age of just 24, Doyle holds the best tally for number of winners ridden by a woman in a calendar year, has twice ridden five-timers and become the first female to be successful on Champions Day at Ascot.

She has also finished third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, and partnered a winner in Saudi Arabia.

Now all thoughts turn to Epsom – on a filly who emerged as a Classic contender with victory in the Lingfield Oaks Trial.

Hollie Doyle with her third-placed trophy during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2020 awards
Hollie Doyle with her third-placed trophy during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2020 awards (Peter Byrne/PA)

Doyle is also aware of the impact made on the sport over recent months when Rachael Blackmore dominated Cheltenham and then won the Grand National, while Bryony Frost played her part in becoming the first woman to come home in front in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.

Doyle said: “It’s great to get the ride. That was the aim at the start of the year – to continue to ride plenty of winners, but at the same time to try to get some good rides in good races. To get a ride in the Oaks is great.

“It would be the biggest winner of my career, I suppose, to win a Classic. It would be amazing and definitely the next step up.

“I suppose I look up to the likes of Ryan Moore and people like that – but when other females in racing achieve things like Rachael and Bryony, it makes you believe that these sorts of things are possible. Hopefully what I do can help inspire others by setting a good example.”

Champions Day at Ascot was a major breakthrough for Hollie Doyle
Champions Day at Ascot was a major breakthrough for Hollie Doyle (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Of the Archie Watson-trained Sherbet Lemon, Doyle said: “I won first time out on her at Newcastle – and although I’ve not sat on her on the racetrack since, I do most of the work at home on her so I know her really well.

“I couldn’t ride her when she won the trial that day at Lingfield, but I was delighted for the whole team that she got the job done that day. I’ve galloped her since, and she has really improved.

“It was a really good performance, and she pulled it out of the bag. She was a bit green late on, so there is plenty more to come.

“Obviously we are all there to try to win the race, but I hope she can finish in the top five or six. At the end of the day it would just be great to see her run well.

“I do feel she wants a bit of cut in the ground, so if it dries out a lot it would probably be a bit inconvenient, but then we have never been on quick ground.”

Doyle and Watson have become a formidable partnership, and the rider added: “If she was trained by someone else and won her trial she would have probably nearly been favourite and not a 25-1 chance – but Archie is a trainer on the up, and it is great for a ride like this to have come from him.

“He does really well with what he gets and we have got some nice horses as well that we’ll see towards the middle to the back end of the year come out.

“We are getting sent some quality horses, which is good. Everyone at the yard is excited, because everyone loves that filly – which is great.

“I do appreciate what I have done, and winning the Oaks would be amazing, but I never look back.

“I’m always feeling a bit worried that something is going to happen or that I’m going to drop off the face of the earth, so I’m always just living to try to always go forward.

“I’m never happy or comfortable in my position, because I’m always worried that I’m going to have a quiet time or something. That’s why I don’t ever want to take my foot off the pedal.”

Sherbet Lemon out to do Apple Tree proud in Oaks

Sherbet Lemon will be Apple Tree Stud’s first Classic contender when she lines up for the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom.

A 28-1 winner of this month’s Listed Novibet Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield, Sherbet Lemon vastly outran those odds to win by three-quarters of a length under Paul Mulrennan.

That performance bolstered connections’ confidence in targeting the Oaks on June 4, a contest for which the grey is a general 33-1 chance.

Former leading National Hunt jockey Robert ‘Choc’ Thornton manages the Apple Tree racing and stud operation for owner Paul Dunkley, and reports Sherbet Lemon in fine form for her Classic tilt.

“She’s very well, and we’re really looking forward to next Friday,” he said.

“She’s done some work – she did a gallop on Friday and she’s absolutely fine.

“It’s just a case of keeping her ticking over for the big day.”

Hollie Doyle, stable jockey to trainer Archie Watson, rode Sherbet Lemon to her maiden success at Newcastle in February and is lined up to take the ride again after missing the filly’s last two runs because of commitments for her retained owner Imad Alsagar.

May has been unusually damp, but Thornton is not concerned by the prospect of testing conditions following the filly’s performances on Newcastle’s all-weather track, good ground at Wetherby and soft at Lingfield.

“She stays and she seems quite versatile,” he said.

“She won on the all-weather at Newcastle, and it was quick ground at Wetherby when she was fourth.

“She got no run at all, and I was actually very pleased with the way she ran that day – because she stayed on really well, and we know there were traffic problems.

Sherbet Lemon and Paul Mulrennan on their way to winning the Novibet Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield
Sherbet Lemon and Paul Mulrennan on their way to winning the Novibet Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield (John Walton/PA)

“Then at the Oaks trial, the Listed race at Lingfield, she was fantastic.

“She travelled on soft ground, and Lingfield is undulating and possibly as close as you can get to Epsom away from Epsom.”

Thornton’s only worry is the possibility that the Oaks may be run at an unsuitably fast pace from the off, with his filly more suited to a late burst of speed.

“We’d hope we have a good each-way chance – if she could finish fourth or fifth then she’d have run very well,” he said.

“My only slight concern is the possibility that we haven’t got the tactical speed early – in Group Ones they go a good gallop.

“We wouldn’t want her in top gear all the way, so we may have to sit and suffer at some stage early on just to find her rhythm and find her gear, and then she should be staying on at the end.”

Apple Tree is based close to Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire, and Sherbet Lemon’s Lingfield win was its first at Listed level.

Sherbet Lemon booked her Classic ticket with her Lingfield success
Sherbet Lemon booked her Classic ticket with her Lingfield success (John Walton/PA)

For that success she is rewarded with the all-important ‘black type’, a marker of class that will prove valuable when she eventually joins the stud’s band of broodmares.

“I thought to myself the other day that she’s done her job already,” said Thornton, who announced his retirement in 2015 following a highly-successful riding career.

“If they all won a maiden and then a Listed race and black type, your job’s done.

“Anything she does now is a bonus, so hopefully we can sit back and enjoy it.”

Sherbet Lemon will not be rushed to the breeding sheds, however.

Thornton said: “There are plenty of options for her to go at throughout the rest of the season – win, lose or draw.

“If she’s not up to that Group One class, there’s a good programme and there are French races as well.

“You’d have to give her a go as a four-year-old. I’m looking a long way ahead, but she’s still quite raw – and I think there’s a bit more to come.”

Hollie Doyle records Leicester four-timer

Record-breaking rider Hollie Doyle lit up Leicester with a 135-1 four-timer on Saturday.

Doyle – who partnered five winners on one afternoon at Windsor last season and had five at Kempton in March – has put down an early marker to suggest she will be right in the mix when it comes to being champion jockey this season.

She finished fourth in the title race last year – in what proved a breakthrough season for her – and she has already stated she will be gunning for the championship full bore this time around.

Her first winner was relatively straightforward as Ed Dunlop’s Bellarena Lady (11-10 favourite) had little trouble in taking the Join RacingTV Now Novice Stakes following a promising debut at Newmarket.

The quirky Dancinginthewoods (3-1) was next for Doyle in the Kube Events Centre At Leicester Racecourse Handicap, being suited by dropping back in distance.

“Coming back in trip is the making of him, he’s been tried over seven furlongs and he could be quite keen – viciously keen, actually. But he’s settled well today and wasn’t doing a tap when he hit the front, so hopefully that will do his confidence the world of good,” Doyle told Racing TV.

Jeanette May (4-1) then did the business for Doyle and her old ally William Stone in the second division of the Follow Us On Twitter @leicesterraces Handicap.

“She’s so frustrating and I feel sorry for Will. She’d been so close to winning at Kempton and then you think today’s the day, but then she’ll go and run a dud,” said Doyle.

“At halfway today she was trying to pull herself up, but the further we went the better – she’s quite cute. She’s well capable, but it depends what mood she’s in.”

Doyle was seen to best effect on Roger Varian’s Jaramillo (9-4) in the Racecourse Live Streams On RacingTV Extra Novice Stakes.

He had been beaten in two hot maidens last season, and Doyle said: “He made me work. We went a nice gallop and I was going as quick as I could, but turning in once we hit the rising ground between the four and the three, the further we went the better I was going and I always felt like the winner.

“When I let him down he was very green still and it was more of an education today.

“He’s just a big, burly baby really. He’d only had two runs and this was his first time on turf today. I just feel with those types it’s best to try to correct them with your body strength rather than your stick straight away, though obviously you might need your stick in some cases. He was just looking for company, that’s all.

“I think stamina is his strong suit. I was a bit concerned about the ground today, but he’s by Oasis Dream so technically he should be going on it. I think he’ll be better on slower ground and he’ll get a mile and a half.

“It’s going great, I can’t complain.”

Dettori and Doyle among Racing League jockeys

Frankie Dettori, Oisin Murphy, Jim Crowley and Hollie Doyle are among the top jockeys who will be in action in the new Racing League competition this summer.

Dettori is one of three riders, along with Jamie Spencer and Luke Morris, for the Newmarket team of trainers John Gosden, Sir Mark Prescott, Robert Cowell and David Simcock.

Champion jockey Murphy will be riding for the Andrew Balding and Richard Hannon partnership. Hayley Turner and Sean Levey are his teammates.

Murphy said: “This is an exciting innovation and considering the prize money there should be fierce competition between the teams. I look forward to being involved.”

Oisin Murphy is looking forward to the competition
Oisin Murphy is looking forward to the competition (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Turner said: “It’s great that the racing industry has decided to try something a bit different. I know the jockeys and the trainers are all really excited. I think it will help to capture a non-racing audience and be a fun event all round.”

Crowley has Hector Crouch and Pat Cosgrave in his group for trainers George Baker, David Menuisier, Gary Moore and Amanda Perrett.

Doyle has Jack Mitchell and Cieren Fallon in her corner for another Newmarket combo of Michael Bell, Ed Dunlop, James Fanshawe and Roger Varian.

There is also an Irish team from the stables of Donnacha and Joseph O’Brien, with Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic-winning rider David Egan combining with Gavin Ryan and Dylan Browne McMonagle.

Team France are currently awaiting confirmation of regulations surrounding Brexit and Covid-19 before announcing further details regarding their nominated jockeys.

Each jockey will be able to ride in a maximum of 18 of the 36 races in the competition.

In addition to the prize money on offer, jockeys will also be vying for a £50,000 prize pot awarded to the three jockeys who score the most points.

Twelve teams in all will compete at six meetings, featuring six races over six consecutive Thursday summer nights, starting at Newcastle on July 29.

Points will be awarded from first to 10th in each race, with the highest scoring team over all 36 races winning the league.

Oli Harris, Racing League’s chief marketing officer, said “We’re delighted that the teams have now confirmed their jockeys. The likes of Hollie, Oisin and Frankie will no doubt grab the headlines, but we are also excited to have some of the most talented up and coming jockeys in UK and Ireland on board, as well as experienced campaigners such as Paul Hanagan, Martin Dwyer and Jamie Spencer.

“This is an important step in painting a complete picture of the Racing League.

“We will follow this by announcing the principal naming partner of each team, before the 30 horses in each team’s squad are selected in July.”

Silver seeking Mile gold at Lingfield

Silver Quartz will have the assistance of Hollie Doyle in the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield on Friday.

Formerly trained by Hugo Palmer and Archie Watson, Silver Quartz was highly thought of in his younger days but appeared to lose his way.

He joined Francis-Henri Graffard in France in September 2019 and has subsequently won four times, including the last twice.

“I am very happy with Silver Quartz – I think he heads to Lingfield in very good form,” said Graffard.

“It looks an obvious race to go for because he likes the Polytrack and the mile is a good distance for him.

“He won at Deauville at the beginning of January and then I did not have a lot of options, which is why I kept him fresh for the race at Chantilly.

“That was another nice performance from him – and I think the confidence of the horse at the moment is very high.”

Another French-trained runner in the race is Canagat, who Doyle rode to victory at Newcastle twice last summer when with Watson.

He is now in the care of Georgios Alimpinisis.

Owner Nurlan Bizakov’s stud manager Tony Fry said today: “We were a little disappointed with Canagat last time.

“The way the race panned out didn’t suit as it turned into a sit and sprint, but he has come out of it well.

“His form behind Wally looks pretty good and a reproduction of that should see him run well.

“It is nice to be involved on days like this and Luke Morris is booked to ride, so fingers crossed.”