Hollie Doyle blog: Opine and Greek Kodiac in focus at Bath before Salisbury on Sunday and Royal Ascot week


Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle heads to Bath this weekend for six rides and she already has one eye on a busy week at Royal Ascot, where she will be gunning for more Group One glory.

Before I can think too much about Royal Ascot, I’m preparing for a busy weekend with six rides at Bath on Saturday and a nice one for Imad at Salisbury on Sunday, which I’ll tell you about shortly.

My best chance up on the Lansdown could be Jonjo O’Neill’s OPINE in the Download The Free At The Races App Handicap (1.20) over the extended 11 furlongs. He’s yet to win a race in any code but took a step in the right direction when I rode him at Wolverhampton at the end of May.

I’d been caught wide on him around Kempton prior to that but he benefitted from a quiet ride at Dunstall Park and flew home once I’d wheeled him out for a run. Bath should suit him as long as they go a decent gallop.

Determined to ride first winner for Bell

I’ve never ridden a winner for Newmarket trainer Michael Bell but that statistic might improve at the sixth attempt when I partner GREEK KODIAC in the Ryan Hopkins’ 40th Over The Hill Handicap (3.10) at Bath.

Middleham Park Racing’s gelding has been running well, finishing third in a Chelmsford City handicap over 1m before winning a 7f seller at Redcar last time. He has some form on quick ground so I’ll be disappointed if he can’t make an impact in an ordinary race.

Greek Kodiac wins at Redcar under Silvestre de Sousa

It was nice to ride a winner for Paul and Ollie Cole the other day on Ernie’s Valentine at Leicester and I’m certainly not ruling out a follow up on their QUEMONDA in the Free Tips Daily On attheraces.com Handicap (4.20).

This mare hasn’t run since December but has a good record fresh, winning on her re-appearance on the All-Weather at Lingfield this time last year. Crucially, she only failed by a head to win a course-and-distance handicap on firm ground last July so conditions should be ideal for her.

Fast ground a worry for fillies

Whilst Opine, Greek Kodiac and Quemonda should enjoy the fast ground at Bath, I’d certainly prefer some give underfoot for Henry Candy’s KINGSTON STAR and William Knight’s BROADWAY DIVA.

The former improved for me on her second start at Salisbury, showing plenty of early speed in a 6f maiden, so the drop back to the minimum trip in the 2.30 is a positive. She’s quite a big filly, however, so I’m not sure how she’ll cope with the ‘Firm’ description.

Royal Ascot


The stage is set for Royal Ascot week, beginning on Tuesday June 15, and here is your chance to see the course like never before

Broadway Diva is a well-bred daughter of Pivotal who showed ability at Chelmsford last winter. If she can get her head in front on her handicap debut (4.55) it will be a case of ‘job done’ as far as her paddock value goes, but her pedigree suggests that she, too, would be better served by some juice in the ground.

The fillies’ novice stakes (1.55) will be a learning curve for Simon and Ed Crisford’s LUCKY SHAKE, whose two previous runs have come on the All-Weather. If she can build on her debut fourth at Lingfield she should acquit herself well en route to nurseries later in the summer.

Praying for Rain at Salisbury on Sunday

I’m heading to Salisbury on Sunday to ride my boss Imad Alsagar’s Starspangledbanner three-year-old FIRE IN THE RAIN in the David & Sandra Wedding Anniversary Fillies’ Handicap (4.08).

She’s a gorgeous filly who has plenty of size and scope and probably needed her first run of the year at Haydock in April, but probably didn’t quite see out the mile.

Hollie Doyle will be reunited with Glen Shiel at Royal Ascot next week
Hollie Doyle will be reunited with Glen Shiel at Royal Ascot next week

She ran well over 7f at Redcar last month but bumped into a Group horse in Sir Michael Stoute’s Cheveley Park filly Potapova, who is likely to run in next week’s Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Salisbury is an undulating track so we’ll see how she copes with that, but she’s definitely up to winning races so I’ll head there expecting her to step forward once again.

Itching to get back to ‘magical’ Ascot

I just can’t wait for Royal Ascot to get underway on Tuesday. The track provided me with some magical days last year – my first-ever winner at the Royal Meeting on Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap and, of course, my Champions Day double on GLEN SHIEL and TRUESHAN in October.

Glen Shiel became my first winner at the highest level when he was so game in the Champions’ Sprint and together, we’ll bid to emulate that feat in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes next Saturday.

Royal Ascot Group 1 races

2.30 Tuesday – The Queen Anne Stakes

3.40 Tuesday – The King’s Stand Stakes

4.20 Tuesday – The St James’s Palace Stakes

3.40 Wednesday – The Prince of Wales’s Stakes

4.20 Thursday – The Gold Cup

3.40 Friday – The Commonwealth Cup

4.20 Friday – The Coronation Stakes

4.20 Saturday – The Diamond Jubilee Stakes

Before that, I have Trueshan to look forward to in the Gold Cup. It’s going to be such a buzz riding in that race and I couldn’t have been happier with his re-appearance run in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester.

Both horses ideally need a little bit of juice in the ground so I’m hoping underfoot conditions don’t get too quick for them in the next few days. I’m probably in the minority but must admit I’m hoping for a little bit of rain!

I’m planning to have rides on all five days, including a few for my boss Imad Alsagar, and some nice two-year-olds for Archie Watson, and will be guiding you over all my rides and the key races in a daily blog from next Tuesday.

Unlucky Princess is the one to watch

I felt unlucky not to win a Haydock novice on the boss’ filly PRINCESS NADIA at Haydock in midweek. We went to win our race inside the final furlong only to be reeled in late on by the odds-on favourite Mandoob.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, she’s a big, unfurnished daughter of Sea The Stars who has needed plenty of time but has now run well on both starts and is certainly in good hands to progress this summer up to 1m4f.

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