Ladies first! Doyle takes Champions Day by storm

London (AFP) –


Hollie Doyle added another fairytale success to her remarkable season on British Chmpions Day on Saturday winning her first Group One race with Glen Shiel in the Champions Sprint Stakes.

The 24-year-old had to wait for victory to be confirmed through a photo finish and punched the air in delight as she got the call ahead of 80/1 shot Brando.

She made a return trip to the winners enclosure she had only vacated half an hour earlier after coasting to victory on Trueshan in the Group Two Long Distance Cup.

She and 16/1 chance Glen Shiel arrived to cheers from the assembled stable staff, trainers and jockeys and racecourse staff as spectators are not permitted due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

One who was not there to do so was winning trainer Archie Watson who decided to move house instead.

"No one else could have trained this horse to win," said the ever generous Doyle.

"This for me is a dream come true.

"This is a massive one especially on this horse everyone adores him but even I doubted it would be today of all days to win this.

"My heart sank on the line when I got joined by Tommy (Eaves, Brando's jockey)."

Her victory on 11/1 shot Trueshan was as much of a shock as the sight of the out of sorts legendary stayer Stradivarius being eased up well before the line by Frankie Dettori.

Doyle shook her whip in celebration as she passed the winning post on the Alan King-trained winner 7 1/2 lengths clear of Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song.

Doyle has had a dream season even before Saturday's achievements.

Earlier this week she rode her 117th winner bettering her own record for wins in a season for a female jockey.

She has also secured her first Group race winner this season at Newmarket and maiden Royal Ascot victory to boot.

Doyle -- whose jockey boyfriend Tom Marqunad is also stamping his mark on the flat scene -- says she is delighted she is not pigeon-holed.

"I am really happy at people seeing me as a jockey not a female jockey," she said.

She said she had always rated Trueshan but was still stunned by the margin of victory.

"Incredible! The further we went the better," she said.

"He is a proper horse but I am not going to lie I did not think he would be up to it."

Dettori said he knew the game was up early on in the race on the three-time Gold Cup winner and who won the race in 2018.

"He could not get through the heavy ground despite being in great fettle before the race," said Dettori.

"I knew the writing was on the wall halfway through the race."