Hollie Doyle blog: Happy Romance the Hungerford Stakes pick and happy retirement to Glen Shiel

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Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle talks us through her four Saturday rides, including Happy Romance in the Hungerford Stakes, and pays tribute to Group One-winning sprinter Glen Shiel.

Happy to be on romance in Hungerford

Happy Romance loves it at Newbury and has what it takes to hold her own in a strong renewal of the Group 2 BetVictor Hungerford Stakes (3.35) on Saturday.

Richard Hannon’s filly won the Super Sprint at the Berkshire track as a two-year-old and took the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes over six furlongs there last summer.

Since then, she’s proven herself over Saturday’s distance of seven furlongs by finishing third in the valuable Turf Sprint in Saudi Arabia in February, too.

Image: Sean Levey riding Happy Romance (dark blue cap) wins The bet365 Hackwood Stakes

The forecast fast ground is to her liking and her run in this year’s Hackwood last time was better than the form figures suggest, as she didn’t get the best of runs.

My husband Tom (Marquand) looks the one to beat on William Haggas’s Tiber Flow, who didn’t run badly in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup when we last saw him in action.

I’ve ridden a few of my bigger-priced rivals, including Eve Johnson Houghton’s Jumby, who deserves his place in this grade, and the Clive Cox runner Wings Of War, who ran a solid race for me at the Curragh last weekend and promises to enjoy the longer trip.

Outbox to get back on track

It’s good to have Hambleton Racing’s globetrotter Outbox back on the track in the Group 3 BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2.30) following a mid-summer break.

His trainer Archie Watson gave him a rest after his disappointing run at Belmont Park in America back in June and I’m hoping he’ll come back as fresh and enthusiastic as he was when winning a valuable race in Qatar in February.

Lauren, who rides him at home, couldn’t be happier with him and he looks wonderful, but while he’s a real star he does have a mind of his own and you’re never quite sure which Outbox you’re going to get.

We’ve decided to swap the blinkers for cheekpieces, which worked well when he wore them to win the Listed Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket last summer, and if he’s in the same mood he can certainly go well.

Quest for Black Type in Listed contest

There’s some valuable black type up for grabs in the Listed Denford Stakes (1.55), which has attracted only five runners including my mount Cite d’Or.

It’s nice to get a ride for Nick Bradley Racing, who do so well with their two-year-old fillies, and this daughter of French sire Galiway got her career off to the perfect start.

She won on debut at Brighton for a trainer on the rise in Harry Eustace and while she needs to quickly take her form to another level, I’m hoping we can boost her value by at least making the frame.

Later, I ride Crafty Lady for Jane Chapple-Hyam and Middleham Park Racing in the Mettal UK British EBF Restricted Maiden Stakes (4.10). She’s bred to appreciate this 1m3f trip so hopefully she can show some potential on her racecourse debut.

Shiel and Bradsell injuries a double blow

It’s been a difficult week for Archie Watson and his team at Saxon Gate Stables following the retirement of Group 1 star Glen Shiel and the season-ending injury sustained by star juvenile Bradsell.

Glen, who has suffered a training setback, will always have a special place in my heart after providing me with my first Group 1 winner in that unforgettable British Champions Sprint at Ascot in 2020.

Image: Doyle riding Outbox

It was the most amazing day and one I’ll never forget. That was also his trainer Archie Watson’s Group 1 breakthrough, but the fun he gave us all didn’t end there. ,

Glen was also second in a Haydock Sprint Cup, a Diamond Jubilee and a Champions Sprint, taking his career earnings over £700,000 and I’m happy he can enjoy his well-earned retirement in one piece.

It didn’t come as a surprise to learn that my Coventry Stakes winner Bradsell had sustained an injury in finishing a disappointing fourth in last weekend’s Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes in Ireland.

He certainly didn’t travel with his usual fluency at the Curragh and it’s another blow to Archie and his owners, Victorious Racing, to be without him for the rest of the season.

The positive news is he should make a full recovery so at least we still have a top-class horse to go to war with next year when races like the Qipco 2,000 Guineas and the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup will be possible targets.

Aidan O’Brien’s Phoenix winner Little Big Bear produced one of the best two-year-old performances I’ve ever seen and looks to have the world at his feet. It was praise indeed to hear his rider Ryan Moore describe him as the best he’s ridden at this stage of the horse’s career.

Hats off to Tempus in Happy Salisbury raid

I was delighted with Hambleton Racing’s emerging star Tempus who improved again to win the Group 3 Tattersalls Sovereign Stakes in such gutsy style at Salisbury on Thursday to round off two great days for me at the Wiltshire track.

Archie Watson’s gelding came into the race in top form after winning a valuable one mile handicap at Ascot last month and turned around a four-length defeat by Modern News at Windsor earlier in the summer.

Image: Tempus and Hollie Doyle (gold and navy) stretch clear to win at Ascot

I was worried that William Buick had such an easy lead, but it was important to keep my horse balanced and in rhythm on such a ridgy track and he repaid me by finishing off really gamely.

Winning the Listed Upavon Fillies’ Stakes on my old boss Richard Hannon’s Rousay the day before was like history repeating itself.

I’ve had great success for her owners the Pall Mall Partners, including winning the very same race on their lovely filly Billesdon Bess five years ago, so it was another special day.

Rain offers hope for Trueshan

It’s the usual weather watch for my star stayer Trueshan who holds an entry in the Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York’s Ebor Festival next Friday.

Rain is forecast in that part of the world early in the week, which would improve his prospects of a possible mouth-watering rematch with his old adversary, Stradivarius.

Image: Hollie Doyle riding Trueshan

I’m sure, like me, his trainer Alan King will be keeping a close eye on the going reports from the Knavesmire over the coming days in the hope of seeing some ease in the ground, but it’s simply too early to speculate.

My Classic heroine Nashwa is among the entries for the Group 1 Juddmonte International at York next Wednesday, but is unlikely to be taking on the older colts at this stage of the season with such good opportunities against her own sex still in the pipeline.

Hollie Doyle was speaking to Sky Sports Racing’s Simon Mapletoft.

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