Jockey Doyle hoping Young Rascal can add to list of winners

Ascot Gold Cup-winning jockey James Doyle rides Big Rascal in the Derby.Ascot Gold Cup-winning jockey James Doyle rides Big Rascal in the Derby.
Ascot Gold Cup-winning jockey James Doyle rides Big Rascal in the Derby.
JAMES DOYLE has set his sights on winning a first domestic Classic after enjoying a phenomenal start to 2018 even by his own high standards.

The likeable jockey, who won the Irish 2000 Guineas on Kingman in 2014, has not looked back since teaming up with Skipton-born trainer William Haggas.

Their run of success, which began with Addeybb’s victory in the Lincoln at Doncaster’s season-opening meeting, includes Give And Take, who lines up in the Epsom Oaks today after her fine win in York’s Musidora Stakes.

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However, Doyle, 30, is particularly looking forward to riding Chester Vase victor Young Rascal in tomorrow’s Investec Derby.

Just the horse’s third career start, he is one of the few Derby runners with proven form over a mile and a half – the length of tomorrow’s test.

Adding further frisson to Young Rascal’s Derby bid is that he is owned by Bernard Kantor, the managing director of Investec who have sponsored the Derby since 2009.

“We knew he was talented and we didn’t question how good he was as he was a ready winner of a decent race at Newbury,” said Doyle, who was inexplicably cast adrift by Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor last season.

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“It was just a case of getting more experience into him at Chester with the Derby in mind. I thought he passed the test very well. For a big horse it is a very tight track and you wouldn’t think he would go around there that well, but we got on the rail and travelled round sweetly.

“I think his attitude is great. He’s got such a relaxed nature, is very straightforward to ride and I think he will stay well – as he showed at Chester.

“I’ve only ridden in a couple of Derbies and those I’ve ridden so far didn’t take the preliminaries that well. They were both complete outsiders, so I was just making up the numbers.”

Doyle, who won last year’s Ascot Gold Cup on Big Orange, said: “Going into Saturday it’s nice to go there thinking you are in it with a chance. Saxon Warrior is a very worthy favourite and it’s a strong field, but it’s nice to be in with a squeak.”

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Saxon Warrior, who won the 2000 Guineas, heads the 12-strong Derby field. He is one of five entries from Aidan O’Brien, who is seeking a record-equalling seventh win.

O’Brien is concerned by the soft ground at Epsom.

John Gosden’s Dante winner Roaring Lion is another with such concerns – it could dent the colt’s finishing speed, which was seen to such great effect at York – while Middleham’s Mark Johnston saddles Dee Ex Bee, who chased home Wild Rascal at Chester.