James Doyle on his RaceBets Derby Trial raceday rides

Updated: 28/05/2023


The Curragh.
Photo: Patrick McCann 21.07.2018

James Doyle is one of
the leading lights of the weighing room and firmly established as a key part of
both Godolphin and the William Haggas operations.

Doyle came close to
Classic success last weekend on Skardu in the 2,000 Guineas and aims to enhance
the Epsom Classic claims of two horses competing on the Racebets-backed card at
Lingfield on Saturday.

We spoke to Doyle about
his big Saturday rides, got the latest on plans for Skardu and asked his views
on the successes his sister Sophie is having in the USA.

Frankellina steps up in class to contest the Racebets Lingfield Oaks Trial. What did you make of her one run so far?

She’s not a filly I know
I huge amount about really, but she’s one I’m looking forward to riding.
William [Haggas] isn’t the sort of trainer who has them fully wound up for
their debuts so to go and win first time up is notable. Harry Bentley rode her
on her debut and I know he liked her.

And what do you make of
her prospects on Saturday?

You would have hoped the form would have worked out a bit better but you can only beat what is put in front of you and she did that. She must have been showing up well in her work at home for William and Mr Oppenheimer to go for this race, so that’s encouraging.

Pablo Escobarr is your ride in the Racebets Derby Trial. How do you think he will get on?

It was good to see the form working out reasonably well with Living Legend’s run at Chester on Thursday and we know he’s going to stay, which is always a plus too. It’s a little bit of a fact-finding mission to help us explore what to do with him for the rest of the season but I’d like to think he can run a good race.

Line Of Duty (William Buick) beats Pablo Escobarr (James Doyle) in the 1m maiden
Goodwood 4.9.18
Line Of Duty (William Buick) beats Pablo Escobarr (James Doyle) in the 1m maiden
Goodwood 4.9.18

Pretty Baby was
progressive last season and lines up in the Racebets Chartwell Stakes. Do you
think she can score again?

The draw is a bit of a
pain as we’re out in the centre of the track in stall one. The easier ground
will hopefully mean the rail advantage isn’t quite as much as a problem for us,
but I’d rather be drawn better with her. She had a really good season last year
and hopefully she can pick that up this year. She certainly a nice filly to
look forward to.

Last weekend you rode
Skardu to finish third in the 2,000 Guineas. What did you make of that

I was very pleased with him. He beat everything around him and did it well. Being drawn low as I was I never had the option to come across and I didn’t see the others on the stands’ side rail until about half a furlong from the end. It was a good performance nevertheless.

Skardu (James Doyle) and his groom Sergiy Barvinko after the Craven Stakes 
Newmarket 17.4.19
Skardu (James Doyle) and his groom Sergiy Barvinko after the Craven Stakes 
Newmarket 17.4.19

And where do you think
Skardu is likely to run next?

He’s come out of the
race well and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season with him. I’m not
entirely sure what the plans are but I know the St James’s Palace Stakes at
Royal Ascot was mentioned and that makes a lot of sense. Whether he goes to
Ireland in between I don’t know, but he’s a very talented horse for sure.

You rode Auxerre to an
impressive victory in the Lincoln. What do you make of his chances in the
Listed Royal Windsor Stakes on Monday?

I haven’t actually seen
him since he won at Doncaster, but he was seriously impressive that day. He
wasn’t put up a huge amount by the handicapper after that win, so in theory we
could have gone for another handicap with him but Charlie [Appleby] is keen to
try him at Listed level. The race at Windsor on Monday looks the right race to
do that in.

Your sister Sophie rode
Street Band in the Kentucky Oaks last week. Where you watching and cheering her

Absolutely! It was a
shame as the horse blew up a little with the pre-race parades. She still ran a
very good race to be sixth and Sophie got plenty of coverage for it, which is
good for her and will hopefully allow her to get more opportunities.

And Sophie has made a
good career for herself since moving to the USA. What did you make of the
decision to leave Britain?

She’s in Chicago now and
she smashed it when she was riding there last year. Fair play to her for having
the guts to do something about her career and make the big step to go out to
America. It’s worked out work and I don’t think she’ll be coming back any time

James Doyle on his RaceBets Derby Trial raceday rides

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