James Doyle excited at Ascot ride on Crystal Ocean

JAMES Doyle is “absolutely ecstatic” after picking up the plum ride on Crystal Ocean in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Jockey James Doyle celebrates his 2018 King George wim. He has been booked to ride Crystal Ocean in this year's renewal.

Trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s horse is unbeaten in three starts this season – completing his hat-trick with an impressive victory in last month’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

With the popular Italian set to partner the brilliant dual Arc heroine Enable on Saturday week –and Ryan Moore likely to be committed to ride for Aidan O’Brien – the ride on Crystal Ocean was going begging and Doyle is thrilled to have been called up.

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“Any sort of ride you pick up in a big race is always nice, but to pick up a ride on a horse like him in a race like a King George – I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Doyle.

“I’m going to sit on him on Saturday morning and I can’t wait really. He looks an absolute dream to ride. He looks very uncomplicated, which is always nice.”

Doyle won last year’s big race on Stoute’s Poet’s Word who, ironically, beat stablemate Crystal Ocean in a thrilling finish.

The jockey – who completed the sprint double at Royal Ascot last month on Blue Point – has also been closely associated with last year’s Yorkshire Oaks heroine Sea Of Class who is being treated for a life-threatening bout of colic.

Though her career on the track is over, trainer William Haggas says the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up is beginning to show signs of improvement.

While the dual Group One winner is far from being given a clean bill of health, Haggas hopes a corner may have been turned. “We thought yesterday was her best day,” he said. “The vets are like doctors and never give you the full go ahead, and they still say she is not out of the woods, but we thought all the signs were good. Maureen (wife) and I, while not happy, were comforted by a bit of spark of life.”

James Tate has booked Frankie Dettori for Hey Gaman in the Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh tomorrow. The trainer was weighing up a trip to Ireland for last season’s French Guineas runner-up or wait for the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.