Doyle reflects on ‘unreal’ time
Hollie Doyle enjoyed another moment centre stage at Salisbury on Wednesday after Billesdon Bess provided her with the biggest success of her career to date in the British Stallion Studs EBF Upavon Stakes.
Just four days after being drafted in at the last minute to replace Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne in the Shergar Cup at Ascot, the 20-year-old apprentice claimed her first victory at Listed level aboard the Richard Hannon-trained filly.
The pair successfully combined over the course and distance earlier in the summer and were also victorious at Glorious Goodwood just a fortnight ago.
Doyle positioned the 6-1 shot close the pace throughout in this higher grade and although she dropped her whip in the final furlong, Billesdon Bess found plenty to hold High Hopes at Bay by a length.
"It was great. We knew she had a bit of ability but we had a question mark whether the ground would be too quick for her today. Obviously she is very adaptable as she loved it," said the jockey.
"I just went to give her a backhander and I can't remember who it was next to me, but they knocked the whip out of my hand. Luckily I had enough horse underneath me and we got away with it.
"It means the world to me. I could not claim today and it was great of the boss and the owners to keep me on her as they could have put one of the lads on but they stuck with me. I would not have expected to ride her in a Listed race being an apprentice.
"The last few days have been unreal."
Exceedingly Diva could be stepped up to Group Three company at the Wiltshire track next month after leading her rivals a merry dance in the first division of the British EBF Molson Coors Novice Stakes.
The 4-1 shot, ridden by Kieran Shoemark, had a length in hand over Kick On Kick On at the line and trainer Marcus Tregoning is eyeing the Bathwick Tyres Dick Poole Fillies' Stakes as a possible next port of call.
Tregoning said: "We do like her and she has inherited a lot of pace from her sire (Exceed And Excel).
"It looked like being a smarter race today than the one she was second in at Windsor on her debut. I am sure she will improve.
"It really wasn't the plan to make all but she has got plenty of pace and has always shown bags of speed at home.
"The Dick Poole could be a possibility, it depends what ground they get."
The Joe Tuite-trained Surrey Hope (11-4) returned to winning ways when holding on by a neck in the Brunton Publications Pembroke Cup Handicap, completing a double on the day for jockey Ryan Moore.
The three-times champion had earlier been on the mark aboard Hannon's 5-2 favourite Rogue in the second division of the novice stakes.
The gaps came in time to allow Ken Cunningham-Brown's Waseem Faris (14-1) to register the seventh win of his career in the S H Jones Wines Handicap in the hands of Pat Dobbs.
Trainer Harry Dunlop and champion jockey Jim Crowley combined to land the Champagne Joseph Perrier Handicap with 5-1 shot Viking Hoard.
Bengal Lancer sent favourite backers home happy after obliging as the 5-2 market-leader in the concluding Shadwell Stud Racing Excellence Apprentice Handicap for Ian Williams and Manuel Fernandes.Doyle said: "It was great. We knew she had a bit of ability but we had a question mark whether the ground would be too quick for her today. Obviously she is very adaptable as she loved it."She is very tough and you don't have to make the running on her. It just happened they let me dictate last time."Today I knew she would not have it easy up front but when Dane (O'Neill) went on I was happy to take a lead."It means the world to me. I could not claim today and it was great of the boss and the owners to keep me on her."They could have put one of the lads on, but they stuck with me."