Doyle and Buick wearing iconic Royal blue silks with distinction

BACK IN THE SADDLE: Night Of Thunder ridden by James Doyle leads the field home to win the The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Race during Al Shaqab Lockinge Day at Newbury Racecourse.

BACK IN THE SADDLE: Night Of Thunder ridden by James Doyle leads the field home to win the The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Race during Al Shaqab Lockinge Day at Newbury Racecourse.

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There will be no theatrics, or Frankie Dettori-style flying dismounts if James Doyle wins 
today’s feature Sky Bet York Stakes on the progressive Tha’ir.

He will politely acknowledge the work of the Godolphin team and regard the outcome as another vindication of his decision to become retained rider to Sheikh Mohammed last year.

Yet Doyle’s modesty masks a quiet revolution gathering pace within Flat racing – the resurgence of Godolphin in the post-Dettori era and following the Mahmood al-Zarooni doping scandal.

No longer is Dettori the face of Godolphin. It is now a formidable operation with Doyle, and his best friend William Buick, leading the ‘boys in blue’ into battle against Coolmore and the newly-established racing empires from Qatar who have added a new rivalry.

It is why 27-year-old Doyle is happy to be spending four successive days in Yorkshire – he is also in action at Pontefract tomorrow – while Buick lines up in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot aboard the St Leger runner-up Romsdal.

This is the ultimate team effort – there are simply too many good horses for one jockey – and both are proud to don the iconic Royal blue silks. “We all sit down and put or views across,” Doyle told The Yorkshire Post.

“As friends, there are times when it is left to William and myself to sort out but it is all very fair.

“I had a Group One win in the Lockinge at Newbury aboard Night Of Thunder while William won the Irish Derby on Jack Hobbs.

“William has had a nice few rides for Mark Johnston while I’ve been riding for Richard Fahey. It is very fair, and that was always the plan. It couldn’t have worked out better.”

Doyle, a far more relaxed rider this season, says there is another distinction – both he, and Buick, regard themselves as ambassadors for Godolphin as well as two of the best young jockeys in the world with CVs lined with multiple Group One successes.

“Everyone is pushing the Godolphin brand and getting behind it. It’s not just in Britain and Dubai, riding in Australia was a great experience and there is talk of going to America.

“That’s the nice thing about it – you get to experience international racing on top-class horses.

“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is very hands on. He’s extremely knowledgeable. He’s a champion endurance rider.

“While William primarily rides for Charlie Appleby, I ride for Saeed bin Suroor.

“His record speaks for itself. I wouldn’t like to highlight any one quality because he is the all-round package.”

The unnaturally tall jockey, who maintains his fitness with regular swimming sessions, knows Tha’ir will have to step up in class to win today’s Group Two test over 10 furlongs, the highlight of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival which concludes tomorrow.

Having won on Tha’ir at the Dubai Festival, Doyle and Tha’ir made all to win a Listed race at Sandown earlier this month.

“He’s one that is quite keen. We decided it might be easier to make all rather than try and sit in,” explained the rider. “It’s a bigger field at York and there should be some cover. It’s a steady enough race, Custom Cut will take all the beating on official ratings. He’s 117 and my horse is 105 so we have a bit to find, but he’s very consistent and this looks to be a good opportunity.”

It is ironic that Custom Cut – the mount of The Yorkshire Post’s columnist Danny Tudhope – is trained by David O’Meara. While the luckless Tudhope was on the injury sidelines with a damaged thumb, it was Doyle who partnered Sir Robert Ogden’s Amazing Maria to success at Royal Ascot before confirming the form in the Group One Qipco Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting.

The jockey won last year’s Ayr Gold Cup on the O’Meara-trained sprinter Louis The Pious and he was delighted to get the call.

“She put in a nice performance at Ascot, and people thought it was a bit of a fluke, but she backed it up,” added the jockey whose previous career highlights have been aboard Cityscape, Al Kazeem, Noble Mission and Kingman.

“I thought she was a decisive winner of the Falmouth, even though it was a dash to the line. She’s a high class filly who loves fast ground. Whatever David O’Meara does seems to work – she was always a bit of a talking horse before switching stables.

“The class was there. Perhaps she was a bit on the weak side but it has all come together and I wouldn’t be surprised if she won another Group One. I did win in the Godolphin blue on Night Of Thunder, and that was a huge honour, but I’d very much like to land another Group One in those colours before long.

“This is what is all about now – Team Godolphin. ”

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