Hollie Doyle is excited to be competing in the stc International Jockeys’ Challenge in Saudi Arabia.
She is one of seven female jockeys, including last year’s winner Sibylle Vogt, taking on two local and five overseas male riders in Riyadh on Friday.
Doyle had a successful debut in a similar competition in Hong Kong in December when she won on Harmony N Blessed to clinch third spot and earn a place on the winners podium.
The tournament consists of four races on the dirt course, with the winning rider receiving $30,000.
Her mounts are Interlaken in the first leg over seven furlongs, Stylehunter over a mile, Sowt Alreeh over nine furlongs and Moahal in the final leg over six furlongs.
With all the horses trained locally, Doyle knows little about them but has been doing as much homework as she can – and looking forward to getting a taste of the track first hand before the meeting.
“I’m really excited about it. There’s great prize-money up for grabs, so I just need a bit of luck really,” she said.
“I’ve had a brief look at the form. It’s quite hard because they are local horses. I think one or two of them have a bit of form. Some are stepping back in trip and are running over trips they don’t usually run over, so it will be interesting.
“I’m walking the track today and riding out in the morning, before the meeting in the evening. I will have a good idea then.”
Among the other female riders are Jessica Marcialis, the first woman to ride a Group One winner in France in the Prix Marcel Boussac, and Malin Holmberg – whose victories include the 1000 and 2000 Guineas in Norway.
The male jockeys include Godolphin’s William Buick, Irish Classic-winner Shane Foley, three-time Kentucky Derby hero John Velazquez, Brazilian ace Jorge Ricardo and Cristian Demuro, who won the Arc on Sottsass in October.
Last year’s challenge saw history made when Lisa Allpress rode Matmon to victory in the first leg.
Three-time champion jockey in New Zealand, Allpress stormed up the far rail to deny Olivier Peslier aboard Motayammen, becoming the first woman to ride a winner in Saudi Arabia.