Sky Sports Racing Ambassador Hollie Doyle is back in action at Royal Ascot on Friday with five rides, including former frontrunner Scarlet Dragon who tries to emulate her decisive victory in the reunion 12 months ago in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap.
SCARLET DRAGON the incredible victory in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes last season will live with me forever. It was my first winner of Royal Ascot and we will do our best to repeat the feat in the big handicap on Friday (5.35).
He’s a cheeky old horse that takes a little knowledge, but we’ve got a long way together – I won the Old Rowley Cup on him as a 5-pound claimant at Newmarket in 2016.
If he’s in the mood, he’s more than capable of running another massive run, although he’s a few pounds heavier this time around. I’m well pulled in stall six and there should be a lot of pace in the race, so my job will be to put it in a good pace.
He can be passionate about his races so it’s vital that I make him disconnect but it’s also important to keep him interested! It would be great to be in the sights of Alan King and his wonderful owners Henry Ponsonby Racing again.
Honored to have the first ride for Queen
Royal Ascot Friday marks another milestone for me when I wear Her Majesty The Queen’s silks for the very first time.
I ride his filly trained by William Haggas CAMARADERIE in the Sandringham Stakes, a race that often brings down a big prize winner, so I’m certainly not put off by its big chances.
My fiance Tom Marquand won over her on the All-Weather in Chelmsford City in November and thought she would turn into a nice three year old girl, but things didn’t go as planned in her first race of the l ‘year.
William led her in the Newbury Listed Fillies trial last month, but she took off in the soft ground. With that in mind, she clearly won’t want the ground to be too wet but she could very well be handicapped by a score of 81 if the conditions are in her favor.
Dragon can be king of the Commonwealth
I ride my old friend POWERFUL GURKHA in a scorching revival of the Commonwealth Cup Group 1 (3.40) at Royal Ascot, and as a Group 3 winner, he deserves to give it a shot.
Owner Mohammed Rashid was keen to let him try his luck at the highest level preferably at 5f Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap on the last day.
Mighty Gurkha produced his best form on 6f including a fourth place in the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes at this course and distance at the end of April, so it would be nice to be in the mix for a staunch supporter of Archie’s Saxon Gate. Watson. Stables.
Expect to see him work his way from our middle draw into stall nine, on the opposite side of the draw to Archie’s most sophisticated runner. Dragon symbol.
Champion jockey Oisin Murphy has always been ready to ride the gray, as he is friends with Japanese owner Yoshiro Kubota, and must be eager to get back on board after winning over him at Kempton Park and then seeing him progress to a rating of 111.
This colt ran a brilliant race in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock Park last time around, when he simply failed to bring winner Rohaan back to the proving ground. It was his first loss in five races.
I rode him on his first two runs when he won at Wolverhampton and Newcastle and this race has been on his schedule ever since. Archie handled it brilliantly and I’d be surprised if he didn’t justify his coach’s faith with another big run.
Improve Gypsy a Albany date
I still love riding for Gay Kelleway – the first female jockey to win at Royal Ascot, of course – so it’s nice to have the call for her improving filly Gypsy lady in Group 3 Albany Stakes (2.30).
She improved with every run and relied on a decent effort at Windsor when she won a first 6f on the All-Weather at Chelmsford City for Luke Morris last time around.
On this proof, she should see this steep 6f well but obviously needs to find a lot more improvements to get involved. She’s by Mayson and seemed to be enjoying soft ground in Windsor so any rain will likely improve her outlook.
Fast run five should be fine for Desert
that of William Knight GULF DESERT will step onto the angry turf for the first time in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (6.10) at Royal Ascot.
He won 6f at Wolverhampton on his debut last September and has run well in both starts this year since being gelding. In fact, he was barely more than a length behind me on Archie Watson’s helpful Excel Power at Lingfield.
The pace of a race like this should be right up there and as he comes back on a trip hopefully he picks up well for me with relatively light weight in what feels like an open race.