February 20, 2024

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03-01-2023 – Hollie Doyle Back and Raring for Winners

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Hollie Doyle has returned to her home country after a successful two-month stint in Japan, where she rode 13 winners from 101 mounts. The arrival of the new year means one thing:
the number of winners was dialled back to zero, and the hard work behind the scenes begins again.

As someone who doesn’t crave the limelight, Doyle is modest, reserved, and always the ultimate professional. It is fair to say that acknowledging her success doesn’t come naturally, but
since 2019 she has ridden more than 100 winners in each year,

with a career high of 172 in 2021. RACING TO CEASE IN MACAU FROM APRIL

Racing in Macau will end from April 1 of this year following an announcement on Monday by the Macau Horse Racing Company, operator of the Macau Jockey Club (MJC), that it isto
terminate its contract with the Macau government. A significant employer in Macau, the MJC in its present guise has been in existence since 1989, though racing on the peninsula on China’ssouthern coast has a centuries-long history. The decision to cease racing in just over two months’ time at Taipa racecourse will affect hundreds of employees of the MJC, which includes 12 trainers and stable staff, and around 200 horses. It comes in the wake of the Singapore Turf Club’s announcement last June that racing will no longer take place in Singapore after October of this year.

A statement on the MJC website read, “Macau Horse Racing Company Limited regretfully announces that this morning the company signed an agreement with the Macau (SAR) government to terminate the ‘Concession Contract for the Exclusion Operation of Horse Racing’.” It continued, “Macau Horse Racing Company Limited has been operating at a loss, accumulate in excess of 2.5 Billion (approximately ,245m/i283m). Moreover, there has been limited room for development and growth of the horse racing industry in Macau over the years, and including the adverse effect brought about by pandemic over these last three years, it has become increasingly difficult to sustain the operations.” Hollie Doyle, Q&A, cont. from p1 She finished in the top three jockeys in Britain between 2020 and 2022, and one of her closest rivals is her husband, Tom Marquand.

Doyle’s former weighing-room colleague Georgia Cox catches up with the leading female rider, whose Group 1 wins in 2023 came aboard Bradsell (GB), Nashwa (GB) and Trueshan (Fr), and
who has four winners on the board already this year. The Japanese fans look like they could elevate any race day. How did it feel to be a part of that atmosphere? The fans are unbelievable. It’s quite incomparable to anywhere else I’ve been. Their love and respect for the horse is on a different level. The merchandise the JRA provides is incredible and the fans are able to purchase “turfies” which are replicas of their favourite horses. After you’ve ridden a winner, you spend a long time signing autographs and merchandise for them. If I was in the next race, I’d feel guilty that I had to go and couldn’t sign everyone’s, as they are so keen and passionate. I remember walking out of Nakayama on the last day and there were hundreds of people queued up for Tom and I to sign things. It’s very sweet, the fans themselves are in it for the right reasons. How were the local trainers in welcoming you as an overseas rider? The local trainers are generally very good working with overseas riders.

The trainer you’re based with isn’t necessarily your biggest supporter. This year I was associated with Hiroyasu Tanaka, the trainer of Lemon Pop (Lemon Drop Kid). He’s a young and up-and-coming trainer who spent a lot of time in France. I have a really good relationship with him, and he threw as many rides as he could at me. However, they have their own jockeys as well, who they are very loyal to. I had to prove myself even more after last year, not getting that many winners, but this year back in June I picked up the ride on Italian 1,000 Guineas winner Shavasana (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) to win the G2 Oaks d’Italia for trainer Stefano Botti and Katsumi Yoshida, who is also the owner of Northern Farms, which 12 of my 13 winners were for. It’s like everything – it’s all about building contacts. To be able to partner Vela Azul (Jpn) (Eishin Flash {Jpn}) in the G1 Japan Cup was a huge opportunity, as was winning on Vibraphone (Jpn) (Drefong) for Noboru Takagi, the trainer of 2023 Dubai World Cup winner Ushba Tesoro (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn}). It’s a huge step forward on last year’s results and I hope to keep building on that.

 

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