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James Doyle

James Doyle: lost the number one job with Saeed Bin Suroor

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Doyle: losing Godolphin number one role a 'blow'

JAMES DOYLE has revealed his disappointment over being dropped as number one jockey by Saeed Bin Suroor as Godolphin chief executive John Ferguson insisted the rider still had a big role to play in his operation.

The rider, who landed a Group 2 prize for Godolphin at Newmarket where he piloted Best Of Days to Royal Lodge victory, will no longer be first choice for Bin Suroor, it was announced this week.

Doyle said: "It's one of those things, it's a bit of a low blow when the trainer you ride for has decided to use outside jockeys but he's the boss and I have to respect his decision and move on. All I can do is keep doing my best and I know I'm doing my best."

Doyle's comments come amid press reports that he was in line to replace Paul Hanagan as retained rider to Hamdan Al Maktoum, a rumour Ferguson described as "from left field".

Hamdan Al Maktoum, when asked about the Hanagan rumours, said: "I heard it from you first."

When asked if Hanagan's position was safe, he added: "I hope so."

'Saeed has to be allowed to choose his squad'

Ferguson claimed that Doyle's future, both immediate and longer term, is with Godolphin.

He said: "James has made it unequivocally clear he wants to remain a part of Godolphin and that is exactly what he will remain.

"The future is very bright [for Doyle]. Saeed made it clear he wasn't automatic first-choice but that he would still be very much a member of that team.

"Saeed has to be allowed, like any football manager, to choose his squad. He believes that James is a very talented jockey and member of that team, but he also believes that instead in certain cases he wants to be allowed to use certain jockeys."

Ferguson stressed that Godolphin's founder Sheikh Mohammed would have been consulted about the decision by Bin Suroor, but ultimately that the final call lay with the trainer.

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