Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle says Sunday’s record-breaking French Oaks win in Nashwa was the first time she allowed herself to embrace the meaning of her accomplishments.
Doyle’s victorious ride on the 7/4 favorite at Chantilly made her the first rider to win a European Classic, a moment in which the 25-year-old was able to fully enjoy having traveled there only to board the star filly by John and Thady Gosden.
The win was another milestone for Doyle, who in 2021 broke her own record for the number of winners by a female rider in a single season (172).
Doyle’s remarkable rise has also resulted in her being named Sportswoman of the Year by the Sunday Times and third place in the 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
Doyle reflected on their latest triumph Sky Sports Racing: “It’s pretty cool. I always think of myself as just a jockey, but yesterday was probably the first time I’ve stepped back, looked around and embraced it.
“I usually get off, get the job done and move on to the next.
“I only had one ride yesterday and the massive reception they gave us was amazing – I really appreciate that.
“I actually got a women’s watch yesterday, which was nice because I’m used to getting men’s watches!
“It’s been a 24-hour hurricane, but it’s really incredible.
“As an English attacker on French territory, you never know what to expect, but I’ve never experienced anything like it before when the podium ceremony took place at the circuit and the national anthem was played. It was all pretty surreal.”
Trainer John Gosden was full of praise for Doyle’s guidance on Nashwa after the jockey made a crucial quick start off the floor and maintained a commanding position from which she was perfectly positioned to fend off her next attackers.
Looking back on her ride, Doyle said, “It was a messy old race. She came out of Epsom well and getting her there 16 days after Epsom was quite an amazing training effort from Mr Gosden.
“The race didn’t go to plan but she’s quite versatile and was happy with the position we gained. Looking back, I was probably in the right place at the right time.
“I held her for as long as I could, but when I pushed the button, she responded well.
After crossing the finish line, Doyle shared a beautiful moment with husband and fellow jockey Tom Marquand as he passed Zellie in seventh place.
A visibly pleased Marquand held out his hand to congratulate Doyle, who was still in shock at what had just happened.
“He just yelled well done,” revealed Doyle. “Obviously Nashwa had a big chance to get in the race but until it happens you can’t believe it so I was a bit taken aback for a while.
“I had no words to describe how I felt when they tried to interview me. When I walked in I got a champagne shower which was pretty cool. It was a warm welcome.”
The win was particularly sweet for Doyle as it came in the colors of her boss, Imad Alsagar, who put his faith in the young rider long before the records started falling.
“It’s a huge privilege,” said Doyle. “I’m not sure I would have had an opportunity like this throughout my career without working with Imad.
“I have a lot of support from a lot of trainers, but we all know how hard it is to get these types of animals on board in Classics and Group Ones.”