With both Blackmore and Frost breaking new ground during the past National Hunt season, Doyle hopes she can create her own slice of history by becoming the first female jockey to win one of the domestic Classics.
And it would continue the mesmerising progress of Doyle who recorded her first Royal Ascot success last year – and then a landmark Group One triumph when Hambleton Racing’s Glen Shiel took sprint honours on Qipco Champions Day.
Such successes, along with becoming the first female rider in Britain to win five races at a single meeting at Windsor, saw the 24-year-old ultimately finish third in the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.
Yet it is the groundbreaking achievements victories recorded by Blackmore, who won the Randox Grand National on Minella Times, and Frost’s success aboard Frodon in the King George VI Chase, both breakthrough moments for female jump jockeys, that inspires Doyle ahead of her Oaks ride.
“It’s great to get the ride. That was the aim at the start of the year to continue to ride plenty of winners but, at the same time, to try and get some good rides in good races,” said Doyle who began 2021 by becoming engaged to her fiancee, and fellow jockey, Tom Marquand.
“It would be the biggest winner of my career, I suppose, to win a Classic. It would be amazing and definitely the next step up.
“I suppose I look up to the likes of Ryan Moore [on the Flat] and people like that but, when other females in racing achieve things like Rachael and Bryony, it makes you believe that these sorts of things are possible. Hopefully what I do can help inspire others by setting a good example.”
Sherbet Lemon thrust into Classic contention after bouncing back to winning ways with victory in the Listed Novibet Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield Park last time out, and although Doyle was not on board on that occasion she was impressed with what she saw.
She said: “I won first time out on her at Newcastle and though I’ve not sat on her on the racetrack since, I do most of the work at home on her so I know her really well. I couldn’t ride her when she won the trial that day at Lingfield but I was delighted for the whole team that she got the job done that day. I’ve galloped her since and she has really improved.”
Although Doyle has no concerns regarding Sherbet Lemon’s ability to act around the course or see out the mile and a half trip, she believes there could be question marks regarding both ground and tactics.
“Whether she will be able to dictate like she did around Lingfield that day around Epsom I’m not so sure but we will see,” she continued. “I do feel she wants a bit of cut in the ground so, if it dries out a lot, it would probably be a bit inconvenient.”
Helping Doyle hit the heights she has enjoyed in recent months has been the backing she has received from Sherbet Lemon’s trainer Archie Watson – the man resposnsible for her maiden Group One success on Glen Shiel last October as she and Marquand monopoloised Champions Day.
Doyle said: “If she was trained by someone else and won her trial she would have probably nearly been favourite and not a 25-1 chance, but Archie is a trainer on the up and it is great for a ride like this to have come from him. He does really well with what he gets and we have got some nice horses as well that we will see towards the middle to the back end of the year come out.”
Assessing potential dangers Doyle points to the Aidan O’Brien-trained favourite, and Qipco 1000 Guineas fourth, Santa Barbara, as the main threat. However she feels it could be a horse that finished in behind Sherbet Lemon at Lingfield that may prove tough to beat. “The one that came out of it that caught the eye was probably Oisin Murphy’s mount, Ocean Road,” she observed. “She missed the break but then she ended up making a lot of ground and wasn’t far away in the end.”
While victory in the Oaks would give Doyle an immense amount of personal satisfaction, she’s a jockey who always believes that her next race will be the most important. “I never look back,” added Doyle.
“I’m always feeling a bit worried that something is going to happen or that I’m going to drop off the face of the earth so I’m always just living to try and always go forward.
“I’m never happy or comfortable in my position as I’m always worried that I’m going to have a quiet time or something. That’s why I don’t ever want to take my foot off the pedal.”
n Ante-post favourite Bolshoi Ballet heads a potential six-strong squad for Aidan O’Brien in Saturday’s Cazoo Derby at Epsom. The Galileo colt impressed with comfortable victories on his two starts so far this year and a heads a 19-strong field.
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