Doyle says Major Oaks Player Nashwa is 'Everything You Want in a Racehorse'


Hollie Doyle | Emma Berry

Hollie Doyle has described Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}) as being “everything you want in a racehorse” ahead of her bid to become the first female rider to win a Classic when she partners John and Thady Goden's rapidly-improving filly in the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom on Friday. 

Doyle is well used to breaking boundaries at this stage, with her tally of 152 winners in 2021 surpassing her own record of winners in a calendar year for a female jockey.

She has also ridden two five-timers, became the first woman to be successful on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot and finished third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Doyle now appears to have her best chance yet of becoming the first woman to ride a British Classic winner aboard Nashwa, who is second in the betting behind stablemate Emily Upjohn (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}).

Taking inspiration from Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National-winning jockey Rachael Blackmore, Doyle admits it would be a huge moment for women in sport if she can strike Classic gold.

“It would be an absolute dream come true. You're always looking to progress throughout your career and it would be another box ticked,” she said.

“Like Rachael Blackmore winning the Grand National, winning a British Classic is something I dream of doing over the next 10 years or so, so if it could happen on Friday it would be great.

“Look at the reaction there was when Rachael won the Grand National. It's one of the toughest horse races in the world to win and she did that, so if I could win a British Classic it would be a dream come true for me personally and could hopefully inspire other women to get into the sport. It's a great opportunity to get a ride with a live chance.”

Seen by many as a trailblazer, Doyle has become accustomed to the extra attention that generates and insists she is fully focussed about the task in hand.

“I'm fairly used to it now. Every time I've done something new this is what happens, which is great,” she said in a Qipco British Champions Series Zoom call on Monday.

“I'm used to it and take it all in my stride. Ultimately I'm a jockey and I've got a job to do, that's how I approach it.”

Nashwa brings strong claims to the table, having built on the promise of a third-placed finish at Newmarket on her sole juvenile start with impressive wins at Haydock and Newbury this spring.

The one question that remains unanswered ahead of her appearance at Epsom is whether her stamina will last out on her first start over a mile and a half, but Doyle is optimistic.

She said, “I was very pleased with the performance at Newbury, as at Haydock I kind of gave her a no excuses ride, jumped out in the box seat and she was a little bit gassy.

“Stepping up into listed company at Newbury, I just wanted to ride her quietly to see how she'd relax and go through the gears and she relaxed beautifully-and was very responsive when I asked her.

“To me there was no definitive answer off the back of that performance whether she'd stay a mile and a half or not, but I think she ticks a lot of boxes that need ticking, so we'll find out won't we?”

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