Hollie Doyle – A Future Champion!

Posted by Paul Moon in Blog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What a year for 24 year-old jockey Hollie Doyle? After setting a new record of 116 winners in a British season by a female jockey in 2019 she registered 151 winners for 2020 for a 15% strike rate. This year she came fourth in the Flat Jockeys' Championship, the highest position ever for a woman, she then came third in the 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, and named The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year. Her fabulous progress was commemorated when she scooped three Lester awards which recognises riding achievements in Britain. 

Barely five foot tall she can ride at around 8st and does not have to subject herself to the debilitating dietary regime of many jockeys, and though very light her strength in the saddle is not in question and loses nothing against her peers. In actual fact her shape, size and symmetry promotes then produces a sui generis kinetic performer in the saddle that maximises travel and motion!

With her natural talent and track acumen she is about to become a formidable opponent in those better races. She not only has great hands and the ability to make a horse relax, but she also has a special something else reserved for the very best and missed by the punditry. She fully understands pace and the time fractions that accompany them and appreciates there are three components of a race but four shapes. The components include a start/beginning, a middle section and a finishing of a race, whilst the shapes include fast/fast/slow, fast/slow/fast, slow/slow/fast and slow/fast/slow. It is with some shame most British and Irish jockeys do not have the proverbial 'clock in the head' as per the American and Australian riders, but Doyle does.

Natural talent apart she is now known as a jockey who makes few mistakes, gives horses a genuine chance and rides to the line irrespective. There are no weaknesses we know of and no signs of fragility. She does not rest - when she has a day off from racing she goes to the gym and it is this commitment, dedication and toughness, will to win, willingness to work hard which seems at odds with her demure politeness. We have longed forgot about her sex preferring to accept she is the complete athlete/jockey and one with composure. She is about to seriously dine on the top table and enjoy the consequent and massive success, not just domestically in the UK but on the global stage. It would be a thrill to see her ride those American courses knowing her unique style would fit the category so perfectly, mega-stardom and mega-bucks await her if she wants it.


Since January 2016 she has ridden 413 winners from 3,163 rides for a 13% national average strike rate. She has won £4,583,603 in prize money for her connections. Her first winner came from her first ride at Salisbury on 5 May 2013 on The Mongoose at 8/1 for trainer David Evans winning a Lady Amateur race and it looked nothing like a first ride.


2020: 151-979 for 15%   £1,856,377   -108.68
2019: 116-819 for 14%   £1,201,634    -48.67
2018:  54-591 for  9%     £645,739   -228.76
2017:  59-516 for 11%     £541,298    -50.83
2016:  33-258 for 13%     £338,556    -14.88
2015:   2-39  for  5%      £12,009    -21.00
2014:   1-44  for  2%      £10,863    -39.50
2013:   3-16  for 19%      £14,381    +11.50

For 2020 she rode 151 UK winners and only Ben Curtis rode more with 170, beating Tom Marquand 147, Oisin Murphy 144 and William Buick 139. Given her work ethic she is almost certain to reproduce these numbers in 2021 fitness permitting. To date, she has ridden 6 Group winners from 39 rides for 15% (+20.50) but just one Group 1 winner (Glen Shiel for Archie Watson), expect more from hereon in. Note, she has not won a Group race of any kind on a 3yo and we doubt that statistic will last too long next year.

Her talent and assured affinity with horses is proven with her rides on those young inexperienced juveniles on the fast All Weather surfaces (January 2016 to December 2020), where she recorded 55 winners from 309 rides for 18% and much higher than her national average 15%. Though her strike rate with 2yos is highest the majority of her winners and most prize money are with older horses 4yo+. To date she has ridden 179 winners from 419 rides with this age group for 43% suggesting she is riding winners above expectation on the more exposed sorts. This is backed up by the fact 296 of winners have been in handicaps which represent 70% of her grand total. Clearly she excels on the tight synthetics where her track craft and pace understanding are crucial and used to best effect.


Wolverhampton: 67-473 for 14%
Lingfield:     62-377 for 16%
Kempton:       45-414 for 11%
Chelmsford:    35-312 for 11%
Newcastle:     21-125 for 17%
Southwell:     18-141 for 13%

Over 59% of her wins have come on the AW courses where Wolverhampton and Lingfield are easily her most productive tracks. Once Southwell changes its surface to Tapeta in the spring we can expect Doyle's number to rise quickly. Her favourite turf track looks like Yarmouth where she records 19 winners from 81 rides for 23% (+58.85).

Her best month for winners was January 2020 where she rode 24-116 for 21% (+3.78). Be ready, she is likely to be looking for a fast start again this January. December 2020 showed 15-67 for 22% (+36.13) proving she is happy to work out of season.

Interesting she has won races for 103 different trainers with Archie Watson as her top trainer showing 107 winners from 515 rides for a big 21% strike rate though 5-8 for 63% (+7.65) for John Gosden. She has also ridden for another 187 trainers without winning but confirming her popularity. A few of interest include Roger Varian 0-3, William Haggas 0-7, Alan Brown 4-9 for 44% (+23.25) and Sir Michael Stoute 4-16 for 25% (with 8 placed winning £50k+) telling us he books her to win for him.

When asked if she had what it takes to be crowned champion we were a little surprised with her forthright answer: I will give it a go and try as hard as I can. Hopefully I will be in that position one day, whether it is next year (2021) or the year after (2022). I will keep trying as hard as I can." That was one positive response suggesting she is going for it, and given the support of trainers in 2020 there is every chance of that support increasing and rising in quality.

Setting aside relationships one imagines different pressures on her work schedule next year including racing abroad, so she and agent Guy Jewell will have to manage her time carefully, but from the above it looks as though the priority will be for domestic winners and possibly champion jockey before she is 27.

Making sporting comparisons at any time can be a silly exercise and often futile and especially from different generations, but we are reminded of a certain Julie Krone (24 July 1963), the winningest female jockey of all time with 3,704 wins. She was just under 5ft tall and weighed below 8st and she used to beat up the boys literally! We are not suggesting Doyle will ride thousands of winners in today's competitive environment but she has everything she needs to do so - if she wants it...

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