Sky Sports Racing Ambassador Hollie Doyle has revealed Ascot is her favorite racetrack ahead of QIPCO British Champions Day on Saturday.
Doyle scored a brace on last year’s British Champions Day card, winning the Long Distance Cup over Trueshan and followed by victory over Glen Shiel in the British Champions Sprint.
The 25-year-old has had a breathtaking three years, straddling 151 winners in 2020, and looks set to beat that tally in 2021 with a good chunk of the campaign ahead.
She also took her first Royal Ascot victory in 2020 aboard Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes and backed it up this year with a victory over Amtiyaz in the Copper Horse Stakes.
“This is definitely my favorite racetrack,” said Doyle Sky Sports Racing. “Obviously I had a great day here and a lot of luck, but I think it’s such a great track to drive and it’s very fair.
“Of the four [furlong] at three, the race is really starting to develop and it’s a pretty disappointing turn for the house. Although it’s a tight race it’s pretty steep so you don’t want to engage too early but you don’t want to let them slip away.
“The straight line course is a very steep mile. From the four and a half you go down a furlong and a half, but then it’s also steep uphill.
“I find it quite difficult to race here because you give everyone a lead and you get stuck on a long way so you are very vulnerable – it takes a bit to win ahead. and I find it an easier track to take a lead. “
While she has had plenty of racing success since 2019, Doyle added that she has improved a lot on the big stage.
“You see it happening, people have a good year or two like me, have a quiet year and you won’t see them again, so I’m still quite aware not to let that happen,” Doyle said.
“Tactically there are a lot of things I can be better at and hopefully in the next few years I can ride tighter and sharper and gain that experience.
“My first winner was in 2013 as an amateur, so it took me a while to get to where I am. The last three or four years have been pretty good and I’ve really picked up, but it was a bit difficult before that.
“The problem was, I wasn’t very good and I knew it. It’s probably good because I knew I had to improve myself and I didn’t think I was the bee’s knees when I didn’t. was not.
“I wouldn’t change the way things turned out for me though.
“When I’m on horseback I’m not really nervous. Maybe in the morning at home I would be a little nervous but when I’m at the races I have a job to do and I feel quite content really. . “
We also spoke to Hollie about several of her big racing wins at Ascot, as well as her thoughts on the upcoming QIPCO British Champions Day reunion, live on Sky Sports Racing.
Hollie Doyle on Trueshan
“He was very settled from the start and three parts of the way the more I was the better and I said to myself ‘let’s go! “
“I entered the race and Alan [King] told me to ride it to run well and have a place but I had Stradivarius in me and I was like: “I’m doing a little better than you”.
“I was doing so well and I remember turning three and he just took me up front and out.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was stunned at how clear he was and I think a lot of people thought it was fluke or a one-off or that he was a dependent horse. off the ground, but he’s proven he’s not.
“I felt like I was galloping on a golf course with him because he handled it so well – he’s a real stayer. For a horse that stays at that distance, he actually has a few gears, which is quite enough. rare really. “
Hollie Doyle on Scarlet Dragon
“He’s an old monkey! I won the Old Rowley Cup on him as a five-pound contender a few years ago and I hadn’t really ridden him that much in between.
“Everything went perfectly – he switched off right away, didn’t take the bridle, managed to make the big jump into the straight and we took the line but he was cooperative that day.
“But that’s just him, he’s got so much ability but you don’t know which horse is going to show up that day.”
Hollie Doyle on Glen Shiel
“This year has been really tough with him. He’s only had his home ground probably once or twice when he’s only been beaten by a length by Dream of Dreams and I can’t hit him for that.
“The next two races were quick which is not what he wants, but we hope he can come back on Champions Day and hopefully repeat what he did last year. .
“The reason he likes it here and on loose ground is because he goes over everything. He’s actually done over 10 stadiums, so you know he’ll do the trip well!”
Hollie Doyle on QIPCO British Champions Day
“I think everyone is looking forward to it. It’s a great way to end the season with the crowning of champion jockey and apprentice champion.
“It’s a bit more relaxed than Royal Ascot because of the time of year. It can be a bit of a lottery as it’s been a long season and some horses maybe had a rough year so I think anything can happen in the fall ground. “