Doyle is a King George hero at the first attempt on his genuine Ascot warrior
James Doyle had never ridden in the King George before. No matter.
It is highly likely a Classic had never before been won in the ridiculously bold way Doyle took the Irish Oaks aboard Sea Of Class one Saturday ago. He is a rider on fire and now a rider with Britain's most prestigious all-aged Flat race on his personal roll of honour.
These are heady days indeed for the 30-year-old.
Last Friday he notched the 1,000th British success of his career. Last month he picked up a tasty spare ride on Poet's Word and made the most of the booking, guiding his new friend to Prince of Wales's Stakes glory. Back at the scene of that victory their friendship blossomed.
"I was so delighted to pick up the ride last time, and the way things worked out meant I could stay on him, which I was ecstatic about," said Doyle after galvanising Poet's Word to defeat his Sir Michael Stoute-trained stable companion Crystal Ocean in a thrillingly exciting King George.
It was not, however, a race that went according to the winning jockey's plan.
"They went a hell of a pace today," he said. "I wanted Coronet's position, if I'm honest, but my horse flopped out the gate and the last thing I wanted to do was slip him a bit of rein running down the hill.
"I had to be patient, but rounding the turn the filly was dropping off a bit, which was frustrating, as it meant Crystal Ocean was getting first run on me. I had to be brave and attack late but once I popped him a question he responded really well. He helped me out and was a real star. He is such a genuine warrior.
"It looked great but if I had been beaten a neck I would have been really frustrated. Luckily, when you're on a bit of a roll things seem to fall right."
Things continue to fall extremely right for the always helpful and affable Doyle. He has become the go-to guy for William Haggas and continues to ride big-race winners for Godolphin, sporting the same blue colours as those often donned by William Buick, Doyle's mate, who was aboard Crystal Ocean.
"William is a great friend and he was the first person to pull up and congratulate me," said Doyle.
"To William and me this was no different to anything, but I guess to the wider public of course it is - it's one of the biggest Group 1s of the season and you had two Godolphin jockeys up against each other.
"William is a great jockey and he was won this race before, so it's nice to nick one off him. It's always nice to get one up on him!"
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