JOCKEY James Doyle has responded to his demotion at Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation by riding winners on successive days.
Told earlier this week that he would no longer be automatic first rider to Saeed bin Suroor, he guided Cirencester to victory at Pontefract on Thursday before partnering Time Zone to a 14-1 victory at Newmarket yesterday.
It is too early to tell whether the Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained two-year-old will hit the heights in the future, but there is no doubting that Doyle remains a top-class rider after he, and his best friend William Buick, were recruited by Godolphin two years ago.
It does appear that Doyle is paying the price for bin Suroor’s stable having a below-average season, not helped by a virus which has afflicted several Newmarket yards.
But he will draw comfort from the fact that Silvestre de Sousa went on to become champion jockey last year after being eased out of the bin Suroor yard, with the Brazilian now involved in a protracted struggle with Jim Crowley for this year’s championship.
Doyle’s big race record, courtesy of horses like Al Kazeem, Noble Mission and Kingman, means that a successful career as a freelance is likely to beckon in the coming weeks and months,.
He will also be keen not to cut all ties with Godolphin as there will still be some very attractive ‘spare’ rides if Buick is unavailable.
Irish jump racing is reeling from trainer Colm Murphy’s shock announcement to quit the sport.
Murphy trained horses like 2006 Champion Hurdle hero Brave Inca, and Big Zeb, who won the 2010 Queen Mother Champion Chase when the Yorkshire-trained Kalahari King was a gallant third.
However, like so many trainers, he appears to be paying the price for the dominance of Willie Mullins, and, to a lesser extent, Gordon Elliott.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for the last while and after a few difficult years, my accountancy background told me we just can’t make it pay any more,” he said.
“It’s been a very difficult decision and not one we’ve made lightly, but in the end, it was a financial decision that was made for us.”
Intricately looks set to be prepared for a trip to the Breeders’ Cup following her shock victory in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh earlier this month for trainer Joseph O’Brien
A first Group One success for O’Brien since he hung up his riding boots to become a trainer was also a landmark success at the highest level for his younger brother Donnacha as they combined to beat their father Aidan’s Hydrangea into second.
O’Brien is not ruling out a tilt at the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket on October 7, but is leaning towards an appearance at Santa Anita.
“She is more likely to go for the Breeders’ Cup. I think faster ground will suit her and the step up to a mile,” he said.
“She has plenty of tactical speed and the race could be run to suit her.”