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Hollie Doyle leaves lasting impression on unforgettable Champions Day

Hollie Doyle made her mark on an unforgettable Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot with a double that included the first Group One triumph of her career.

Glen Shiel gave the record-breaking 24-year-old that landmark success when just holding on for glory in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

Doyle and connections of the Archie Watson-trained six-year-old had a few anxious moments waiting for the result of the photo-finish, before it was confirmed Glen Shiel (16-1) had beaten Brando by a nose.

The epic success by the narrowest of margins capped a momentous week in another season to remember for Doyle, for it was only on Wednesday she broke her own record for number of winners by a female rider in a calendar year.

“It is a dream come true, a massive dream come true, especially on this horse. Everyone in the yard adores him,” said Doyle, who at Windsor in August became the first female jockey to ride five winners at a single meeting.

“My aim at the start of the year was to ride a Group winner and I always said a Group One one day, but I didn’t think it would come this year.

“I don’t get too carried away, but I’m a bit delusional as to what is going on at the moment as it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. It has been a great few years.

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“It feels really unusual as for someone like me it doesn’t normally happen, but it has done today.

“I’m in a state of shock right now. I didn’t think I’d won, so to have had the result we have was incredible.”

She added: “It’s not about me it’s about Archie Watson, he has campaigned this horse unbelievably. No one else would have won a Group One with this horse.”

It was only 35 minutes earlier she had become the first female to ride a winner on British Champions Day with an easy victory in the opening Long Distance Cup on Trueshan (11-1).

Leading over a furlong out, Alan King’s stayer stormed away from the opposition to score by seven and a half lengths from Search For A Song.

“That was incredible, I travelled all over them. He doesn’t like being crowded, so I switched him at the three-pole and the further I went, the better,” said Doyle.

Hollie Doyle opens her British Champions Day account on Trueshan (left) in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot
Hollie Doyle opens her British Champions Day account on Trueshan (left) in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“This is a proper horse, he won his first two starts. I’ve always liked him – but I’m not going to lie, I didn’t realise he would be up to Group Two level like today.

“The further I was going, the better. He was tanking with me and he went through the ground like a tractor.

“The pace was reasonable, but he was travelling and he felt like he was hacking round there. I switched my fellow round horses as they said he didn’t like getting crowded in the Ebor and when I pushed the button, he responded.”

A remarkable hat-trick looked on the cards when she went out to partner Dame Malliot in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

But as hard as they tried, Doyle and her mount had to play second fiddle to Wonderful Tonight and William Buick.

Thumbs up from Hollie Doyle's partner Tom Marquand after his win on Addeybb in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot
Thumbs up from Hollie Doyle’s partner Tom Marquand after his win on Addeybb in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Doyle lost nothing in defeat in the biggest race on the card, the Qipco Champion Stakes, as she steered Roger Charlton’s 33-1 outsider Extra Elusive into a creditable sixth place.

However, she would have taken pride in the outcome as the winner, Addeybb, was ridden by her partner, Tom Marquand.

Fittingly, the couple fought out the finish of the concluding Balmoral Handicap, with Marquand landing the spoils on Njord and Doyle second on Solid Stone as they ended the day all square with two winners each.

Doyle said at the conclusion of a remarkable afternoon: “It has been incredible and you wouldn’t have called it. We both came here with a few chances, but in Group Ones and races like that you need a bit of luck. It has exceeded all expectations.

“Tom really liked Addeybb today and I think that is the icing on the cake, for the horse to win a Group One in England. I thought Dame Malliot was my best chance, but I just bumped into a good one there. Glen Shiel was incredible.

“It feels really special as we are the younger generation and we are probably two of the youngest people to have ridden four winners on Champions Day out of six races.

“We are going for a meal around here somewhere which will be nice. I’m not sure who is paying, we will have to go half and half!”

Champions Day first for Hollie Doyle as Trueshan powers to Long Distance Cup glory

Hollie Doyle broke new ground in another remarkable season, as she became the first female rider to win a race on British Champions Day with a runaway success aboard Trueshan in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Just days after breaking her own record for the number of winners in a year, Doyle, 24, made history at Ascot in the two-mile Group Two with Alan King’s four-year-old, as hot favourite Stradivarius finished towards the rear of the field.

Max Vega assured a solid pace from the start, with Fujaira Prince for company until the race hotted up when they turned for home.

Fujaira Prince went on, but that was short-lived as Doyle produced Trueshan (11-1) to hit the front and storm away from the opposition, going on to score by seven and a half lengths.

Search For A Song stayed on to take second spot, with Fujaira Prince half a length further back in third.

Doyle said: “That was incredible, I travelled all over them. He doesn’t like being crowded, so I switched him at the three-pole and the further I went, the better.

“This is a proper horse, he won his first two starts. I’ve always liked him – but I’m not going to lie, I didn’t realise he would be up to Group Two level like today.

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“I’m really happy people are seeing me as just a jockey and not a female jockey. Shout out to Alan King because he is some trainer.

“I rode him first time up at Wolverhampton and that was a bit of a surprise, then he bolted up at Ffos Las. I’ve not been on him since. I’m really grateful for the owners and Alan to put me back on him today.

“He was almost over-travelling with me and I had to stay out a bit wide for the first three furlongs, but luckily I managed to slot in there and got a nice position outside Stradivarius. The further I was going, the better. He was tanking with me and he went through the ground like a tractor.

“The pace was reasonable, but he was travelling and he felt like he was hacking round there. I switched my fellow round horses as they said he didn’t like getting crowded in the Ebor and when I pushed the button, he responded.

“It is testing, I’m not going to lie – it is wet, heavy ground and hard work.”

King’s assistant, Dan Horsford, said: “It looked like she jumped in two furlongs out and he would make a nice novice hurdler!

“He has been progressive all year and has improved for the step up to two miles. Who knows where he ends up from here, but it will be all the Cup races next year. I would think hurdling would be shelved.”

Trueshan powered clear at Ascot
Trueshan powered clear at Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He added: “It’s unbelievable. Hollie is still unbeaten on him. She gets on very well with him. It just didn’t happen for him in the Ebor for whatever reason, but a couple of runners at the time didn’t perform to their best, so you could almost put a line through that.

“It’s been a cracking year and long may it last.”

King was not present, but said from his yard: “It’s unbelievable. Obviously we hoped he would run well, but we weren’t expecting something like that. You couldn’t expect that, but obviously the step up in trip suited him and we know he does handle that ground.

“It was all over at the two-pole and I think we scared the dogs in the house!

“Most of my Flat youngsters are bought to go over jumps, but if they’re too good, they’re too good and it’s not a problem.

“Win or lose it was always going to be his last run of the season. We’ll put him away for the winter now and look forward to next summer and the Cup races. It’s been a terrific season on the Flat and really exciting. It’s great for the whole team.”

John Gosden said of Stradivarius: “It (ground) was too deep and too heavy. He hated it and Frankie (Dettori) thought he pulled his shoes off.

“He was in good form. The ground was very deep down there and he would have probably been better running on the inner track.”

Dettori added: “I was never there and there is not much else I can say.”

Trueshan to test Group potential in Long Distance Cup

Alan King plans to pitch Trueshan into Pattern company for the first time in next month’s Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot.

The Barbury Castle trainer has earmarked the Group Two prize on October 17 as the next target for the progressive Planteur gelding.

Having run a respectable race in defeat in the Ebor at York on his penultimate start, Trueshan bounced back to winning ways in a conditions race at Salisbury last time out.

King said: “All being well, the plan is to go to Ascot on Champions Day for the Long Distance Cup.

“He came out of the race very well and he had an easy week or so before we start building him back up for Ascot.

“He ran very well in the Ebor – and it was a good, solid performance at Salisbury to give everything bar Withhold seven pounds.”

While it will be the first time Trueshan – who tasted Listed glory at Haydock earlier in the season – has performed at Group level, King believes it is the correct path to take.

He said: “This looks the right route to go. It is a big step up in class, and we are very much on a learning curve with him.

“We want to find out where we could potentially go with him next year.”