Can Hollie Doyle really become Champion Jockey?
When she made a winning racecourse debut, as a 16-year-old amateur, in a lowly 0-65 lady riders’ handicap at Salisbury on May 5, 2013, few could have predicted that, eight years later, Hollie Doyle would be quoted at a top-priced 5/1 to win the 2021 Flat Jockeys’ Championship. However, Doyle who stands just 5′ tall and can ride at the minimum weight of 8st 0lb – hence her nickname, ‘The Pocket Rocket’ – has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of her profession.
In November, 2017, Doyle rode the 95th winner of her career, thereby riding out her claim. Two seasons later, in 2019, she became just the third female jockey, after Hayley Turner and Josephine Gordon, to ride a hundred winners in a calendar year, setting a new record with 116 wins. The following October she broke her own record and went on to rack up a total of 151 winners in 2020 as a whole; between the Guineas Festival at Newmarket and British Champions Day at Ascot, she rode 94 winners, finishing fourth in the Flat Jockeys’ Championship.
In July, 2020, Doyle rode her first Group winner and was offered a retainer by owner Imad Al Sagar. In August that year, she rode five winners on the same card at Windsor and, having ridden her first Group One winner on British Champions Day in October, did so again at Kempton in March, 2021. With 53 winners, so far, in 2021, Hollie Doyle must have every chance of becoming the first female Champion Jockey.