By Nicholas Godfrey
GB: Hollie Doyle’s achievement in setting a new record for winners in a calendar year by a female jockey has been warmly applauded by two of racing’s most famous female faces.
Doyle’s senior colleague Hayley Turner and TV presenter Francesca Cumani were among those to heap praise on Doyle after the popular rider broke her own record with her 117th success of 2020 at Kempton Park on Wednesday evening [Oct 14].
Doyle, 23, went one better than last year’s mark of 116 when she partnered State Occasion to win a Polytrack nursery for trainer Ralph Beckett.
In a landmark year, Doyle became the first woman to ride a five-timer in Britain (at Windsor on August 29) and has also recorded her first victories at Group-race level with Dame Malliot in the G2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes at the Newmarket July meeting. Three more have followed on Extra Elusive (twice) and Certain Lad.
In addition, she joined Turner and Gay Kelleway and Turner as the only females to have ridden a winner at Royal Ascot when she scored on 33-1 shot Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes. She also has earned a retainer to ride as first jockey to owner Amad Al Sagar, best known as co-owner of 2007 Derby winner Authorized.
Turner was among the first to congratulate Doyle on her new record mark. “It’s a fantastic achievement to have broken the record again,” she said, speaking to Great British Racing.
“Hollie is very driven and focused. She has an outstanding work ethic and attitude every young jockey should have. She has kept her head out the clouds and her hard work and results prove that.”
ITV Racing presenter Francesca Cumani sounded a familiar note in stressing that gender should not matter, saying: “I have made the point many times that I think gender is irrelevant when it comes to jockeys.
“For too long, female riders have not had the same opportunities as their male counterparts and have not had the chance to show the extent of their skills,” she went on.
“Hollie has proven that when given an opening she can be just as capable, if not more than any of her colleagues. She is pocket-sized but has talent for horses big and small that you can’t measure. Her humility and affability hold her in great stead for further successes and more records.”
Doyle’s achievement in beating her own record is all the more impressive when it is considered that racing was suspended for 75 days between March and June owing to COVID-19.
Reflecting on her latest landmark, she said: “When I broke the record last year in the back of my mind I was always thinking about breaking it again this year, as I didn’t want it to be a one-off, so I’m delighted to have achieved that goal.
Doyle is currently fourth in jockeys’ title race, which started only in June. “When you think that we also missed two months of racing this year, it is amazing that I have been able to do it so quickly,” she added, speaking to GBR. “I want to thank all the owners and trainers that have supported me throughout this year, without them, none of this would have been possible.”
Lambourn-based trainer Archie Watson, who has provided more of Doyle’s winners than anybody else, said: “Hollie is an incredibly hard-working and talented jockey. We have had over 100 winners together in a short amount of time and I am delighted that she is starting to gain the recognition she deserves.”
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