Hollie Doyle previews her first Classic ride, Sherbet Lemon in the Cazoo Oaks on Friday at Epsom; “My adrenaline is sure to be pumping when I get the leg up on Archie Watson’s lovely roan filly Sherbet Lemon”
Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle previews her first ride in the Oaks at Epsom on Friday.
The build-up to my first-ever ride in a Classic in Friday’s Cazoo Oaks (4.30) has been a bit of a blur to be honest, as I’ve been so busy riding out and race riding, but my adrenaline is sure to be pumping when I get the leg up on Archie Watson’s lovely roan filly SHERBET LEMON.
I gave her a stretch in Lambourn last week and have been delighted with her progress, including her win in the Listed Lingfield Oaks Trial last month. Lingfield’s hill makes it an ideal test for the peculiarities of Epsom and she passed that with flying colours.
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I have no doubt whatsoever about her getting home up the hill over a slightly longer trip, either. A half-sister to Melbourne Cup third Il Paradiso, she confirmed that stamina was not an issue that day.
But I do have two concerns. Firstly, the draw hasn’t been kind to us. We’re pitched out widest of all in stall 14 but she jumps and travels well so hopefully we’ll get the luck in running that we’ll need to be in a favourable position when the race begins to take shape.
The drying ground is another question mark. She thrived in soft conditions around Lingfield but even though they’ve been watering to maintain good going, she’s going to find it a new experience.
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Having said that, Sherbet Lemon’s only had three races in her life and may well have what it takes to come up with all the answers. It’s a thrill to be riding her and I really hope she does herself justice for her lovely owners Apple Tree Stud.
Although Aidan O’Brien’s Santa Barbara has been all the rage despite showing signs of greenness in the Guineas, it looks an open race this year and I’m hoping Saffron Beach can make her mark for my good friend Jane Chapple-Hyam.
She’ll need to settle to give her every chance of getting the trip but finished well to be second in the Guineas, beating Santa Barbara, and should give Adam Kirby a lovely ride.
‘Thriving’ Mehmento my best chance
I galloped MEHMENTO the other day and was really excited about the feel he gave me. He’s loving his work – absolutely thriving on it, in fact – and seems to have turned himself inside out since he ran in the French Guineas.
Archie (Watson) has him in the Play Coral ‘Racing-Super-Series’ For Free Surrey Stakes (5.10), a Listed race over 7f, and I must rate him my best chance of the day.
We’re prepared to draw a line through his run in bottomless ground at Longchamp and prefer to judge him on his excellent second in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes on better ground at Newbury before that.
Mehmento is blessed with a lot of speed – he’s still in the 6f Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot – but back at seven on fairly quick ground can see him get his promising career back on track.
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Brighton win bodes well for Prince
DUSKY PRINCE showed what a well-balanced, athletic little colt he is when winning for me on debut at Brighton and has the credentials to build on that in the Listed Cazoo Woodcote EBF Stakes (2.00).
The camber at the seaside track can catch a lot of newcomers out but the way he acquitted himself there suggests he won’t be troubled by the challenges that Epsom presents.
Archie (Watson) likes his two-year-olds to be prominent and although I’m drawn seven of the 10 runners, my lad has the gate speed to be exactly where I want him.
Chester winner Paws entitled to progress
Tom Dascombe’s PAWS FOR THOUGHT impressed me on his seasonal re-appearance at Chester, winning a 6f handicap for stable jockey Richard Kingscote, so I’m delighted to be deputising in the closing 7f handicap at 5.40.
Tom’s done a great job with this three-year-old, who was gelded over the winter and is entitled to have come on again for his comeback run. He’s never been to Epsom but has form on other unusual tracks.
I’m also expecting a nice run from Jedd O’Keeffe’s STRAIT OF HORMUZ in the 10f handicap (3.45) – a horse who won a similar race to this at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival last season. I’ve never ridden a winner for Jedd (in only three previous rides) but this horse is on a fair mark and should strip fitter for his York outing last month.
Promising Faisal passes Windsor test
As I expected, my boss Imad Alsagar’s unbeaten colt FAISAL made a winning re-appearance on his handicap debut at Windsor on Monday.
It was his first run on turf following two wins on the All-Weather last year but he actually felt a better horse on that good ground and will stay further than 10f in due course.
John and Thady Gosden will discuss with the boss where to go next and while something at Royal Ascot wouldn’t be out of the question, he strikes me as an ideal type for the John Smith’s Cup at York later in the summer.