James Doyle hoping to maintain Haggas link-up after Saturday stunner
Lincoln dream team reunite with three exciting Lingfield chances on Good Friday
Lincoln-winning jockey James Doyle is looking forward to firming up a growing bond with William Haggas with three fancied rides for the stable on Lingfield's Good Friday card.
They include Second Thought, a winner at the track last Easter and hot favourite for the Sunbets All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes.
While Doyle remains retained by Godolphin and will be in action for his bosses on Saturday's Dubai World Cup card at Meydan, the Haggas connection is doing his profile no end of good, and Saturday's impressive win on Addeybb in the Lincoln followed a breathtaking victory on stablemate Headway – now a live Qipco 2,000 Guineas outsider – in a Listed race at Lingfield three weeks ago.
His tally for the stable this season is two winners from four rides, and that follows a highly impressive nine from 17 in 2017. An overall strike-rate in the last two seasons of better than 50 per cent looks particularly eyecatching considering he did not ride at all for Haggas the year before.
Looking ahead at how 2018 might pan out, Doyle said on Sunday: "It's going to be difficult, as I hope to be busy with Godolphin, and John Gosden has a few more horses for them than previously, but it will be nice to ride for William when I can.
"I'll also hope to carry on with Hugo Palmer, who has supported me since he started, and my other regulars."
He added: "William used me a fair bit last year, and most of them seemed to win. They were mostly maiden winners and that sort of thing, but the two winners this year have looked very good.
"I guess where Headway goes will depend on the ground, as he has a real fast-ground action, but I was impressed by him as the leader got away and coming down the hill I was kind of accepting he would not have it in him to go and pick up the leader. It was a nice surprise when he picked up so impressively.
"Addeybb's work is only workmanlike at home, although still giving you a nice feel, but he saves his best for the track and he put away some very decent horses at Doncaster. He's pretty smart and has a nice attitude too."
Easter weekend is going to be busy for Doyle, who currently has five good rides to look forward to at Lingfield and a couple more 24 hours later at Meydan.
He said: "I've got some really nice rides at Lingfield, headed by Second Thought for William in the Mile. He has won a couple of qualifiers and is top rated, so he's pretty solid. I also ride Victory Bond for William in the Easter Classic and Diagnostic for him in the Fillies' And Mares'.
"Then there's Gifted Master, who will have a good shout for Hugo in the Sprint, and Red Verdon for Ed Dunlop in the Marathon. They are all live chances so it could be a good day."
There will be no time for lingering celebrations should Doyle enjoy the sort of afternoon he hopes for, as he will be heading straight to Gatwick for his flight to Dubai. He is quieter there than at Lingfield, but has two good rides so far.
He said: "I'm looking forward to riding Jungle Cat in the Al Quoz. He's won both of his races this year and goes into the race in great shape, although Blue Point is the one to beat.
"I also ride Frontiersman in the Gold Cup. The trip is a bit of an unknown but he ran well against Hawkbill last time and his attitude, which can be a little bit wayward, was actually pretty good."
Doyle is a general 33-1 chance for the Stobart-backed jockeys' title, with reigning champion Silvestre De Sousa odds-on to reclaim the crown.
Flat jockeys’ title
Bet365 4-9 Silvestre de Sousa, 7 Andrea Atzeni, Jim Crowley, 14 Ryan Moore, Danny Tudhope, 16, William Buick, 20 Oisin Murphy, 25 Paul Hanagan, 33 James Doyle, Adam Kirby, 40 bar
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