James Doyle ‘to remain an integral part of Godolphin’ amid jockey changes

John Ferguson has underlined James Doyle’s importance to the Godolphin operation and fully expects him to be riding in the royal blue silks in Dubai during the winter.
James Doyle riding Best Of Days to win The Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
James Doyle riding Best Of Days to win The Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

NEWMARKET // John Ferguson has underlined James Doyle’s importance to the Godolphin operation and fully expects him to be riding in the royal blue silks in Dubai during the winter.

Saeed bin Suroor said this week that Doyle would no longer be the automatic first choice for his 115 horses based in Godolphin Stables in Newmarket.

There had also been speculation in the British horse racing media that Doyle would go on to replace Paul Hanagan as Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s first rider at the Shadwell organisation.

Sheikh Hamdan himself quashed any suggestion that Hanagan would be demoted on Saturday after his Talaayeb hinted at being a Classic filly following her win in the opening maiden.

Soon afterwards Ferguson attempted to clarify the situation at Godolphin and confirmed that Doyle was still a very important part of their operation.

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“James is a fantastic player and has been signed by Godolphin to ride the horses we want him to ride,” the Godolphin chief executive said.

“We all have complete faith in him as a top-class pilot. We have so many horses in so many different trainers’ yards now. James will still be very busy and I am looking forward to many years of him riding for us.

“James has made it unequivocally clear that he wants to remain an integral part of Godolphin.”

Doyle rode superbly when he partnered Best Of Days, a Godolphin colt trained by Hugo Palmer, to win the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes.

The 1,600-metre race has been the springboard for several top-class horses down the years with Frankel winning in 2010 and subsequent English Derby winner Benny The Dip scoring in 1996.

Doyle, 28, was understandably delighted with the victory aboard a colt that Palmer believes could be a key player in next season’s English Derby.

“It was quite important to get the job done,” the jockey said as he reflected on Bin Suroor’s decision.

“It is one of those things. It is a bit of a low blow when the trainer that you ride for has decided to use outside jockeys.

“He is the boss, and I have to respect his decision and move on. I just have to keep doing my best and I know I am doing my best.”

There were no fireworks from either Lady Aurelia in the Cheveley Park Stakes or Godolphin’s Blue Point in the Middle Park Stakes.

Lady Aurelia set a fearsome pace under Frankie Dettori but after her searing early fractions, she was left gasping for air in the final 200 metres.

Aidan O’Brien’s Brave Anna swept past going up the hill alongside stablemate Roly Poly and at the line Brave Anna had only a short-head to spare.

The Albany Stakes winner had been stepped up in distance after Royal Ascot, but back down to 1,200 metres she appreciated the tow in to the race given by the pre-race favourite.

Brave Anna provided jockey Seamie Heffernan with his third Group 1 victory of the season but the Irish rider was only fourth aboard Intelligence Cross in the Middle Park, won by outsider The Last Lion.

Joe Fanning always had The Last Lion in front and although William Buick looked in a good position to overhaul him on Blue Point there was three quarters of a length between the two at the line.

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Published: September 24, 2016 04:00 AM

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