Hollie Doyle blog: Glen Shiel set for seasonal reappearance at Greenlands Stakes at The Curragh

Hollie Doyle blog: Glen Shiel set for seasonal reappearance at Greenlands Stakes at The Curragh

Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle heads to Ireland this weekend to take the ride on Glen Shiel in the Group Two Greenlands Stakes at The Curragh.

The conditions at the Curragh on Saturday look ideal for GLEN SHIEL as he continues his preparations for Royal Ascot. Glen re-appears in the Group 2 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes (2.45) on what is being described as good to yielding ground – and there’s plenty of rain in the forecast, too.

His in-form trainer Archie Watson is keen to exploit every opportunity we can to run him on slow ground, as we’re determined to avoid the quick conditions that he simply doesn’t enjoy.

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Hollie Doyle will be reunited with Glen Shiel

He’s no stranger to The Curragh, having won the Group 3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes there in 2020. The stiff track plays to his strengths and he’s entitled to be a lot sharper for his comeback run at Haydock Park.

He’s a big, heavy, lazy horse who only does what he has to at home, so he’s bound to get better with racing. Brodie Hampson has been riding him as usual and she and Archie are very happy with his progress.

The blinkers he responded to so well when finishing second in the Champions Sprint in October are back on, too. It’s not that he doesn’t try, but they really helped him concentrate at Ascot and will hopefully have the same effect.

He takes on the horse that beat him at Haydock, Brad The Brief, but I’ll be disappointed if he hasn’t come on enough to turn that form around, as he really needed that outing.

Ado McGuinness’s star A Case Of You is an obvious threat to all, despite his penalty for winning the Group 1 Al Quoz in Meydan. He is also proven on a slow surface, so it’s going to be a good test for Glen in preparation for next month’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes.

Beauty open to improvement

I have some interesting rides at Nottingham on Sunday, including Richard Hannon’s two-year-old filly IMMORTAL BEAUTY in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (1.00).

The daughter of Cotai Glory posted a really encouraging debut at Ascot when she finished a close third under Pat Dobbs in a similar race and is entitled to be better for the experience.

She cost 130,000gns as a yearling and is bred to be useful.

Later on the card, I’m looking forward to the ride on Saeed Bin Suroor’s gelding DUBAI ICON in the Class 2 Handicap.

He won a nice race on dirt in Dubai in the winter and should go well despite top-weight if he can translate that level of form back to turf.

Classic dream alive with Nashwa

My hopes of becoming the first female rider to win a Classic are very much alive after Nashwa‘s impressive performance at Newbury last weekend, but I’m still not sure whether she will head to Epsom or France.

I haven’t spoken with my boss Imad Alsagar or her trainers John and Thady Gosden yet about which route we will take, but she has the credentials to acquit herself well in the Cazoo Oaks or the Prix de Diane.

Ground-wise, she’s such a versatile filly who has the athleticism and balance to cope with the undulations at Epsom if she heads there next month, and I do believe she will stay 1m 4f.

Nashwa stretches away from Stay Alert to win the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies' Trial Stakes
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Nashwa stretches away from Stay Alert to win the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes

I dropped her out in that Listed trial over 10f (1m 2f) at Newbury to see how well she would settle with another step up in trip in mind and couldn’t have been happier with the way she switched off.

But when I asked her to pick up, she quickened well, showing that she has the speed and gears of her sire Frankel, which would be a real asset if she remained at 10f (1m 2f) in the French Oaks.

Nashwa’s gone from 7f on debut to 1m at Haydock on her re-appearance and to 10f (1m 2f) last weekend, but she’s answered every question. She’s a very clever, responsive filly who has no negatives, so my dreams of winning a Classic are very much alive.

Happy to head title race at early stage

While Nashwa is keeping me dreaming of Classic glory, it was nice to take an early lead this week in the race to become champion jockey.

A double at Yarmouth on Wednesday, initiated by Archie Watson’s promising young sprinter Twelfth Knight, put me one ahead of William Buick and Ben Curtis on 18 winners, at a strike rate of around 20 per cent.

I’m delighted with that but it’s a long season ahead and I’m certainly not getting carried away.

Things can change very quickly in this game, so it’s important to stay focused and take each day as it comes. My husband, Tom (Marquand), and Will are going to be very hard to beat.

I fully expect Tom to really start notching up the winners over the next eight weeks, but I’ll keep working hard as always and see where it takes me.

Archie Watson’s banging in the winners which helps, and I’ve been busy riding out for a lot of trainers, including Sir Michael Stoute and James Ferguson in Newmarket this week, and am lucky to have the support of so many trainers and owners.

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