‘Grab it with both hands’: Sophie Doyle determined to seize her opportunity with Street Band in Breeders’ Cup
- Sophie Doyle went to great lengths to build a partnership with Street Band
- The pair will now team up to compete in the $2million Breeders’ Cup Distaff
- Doyle previously competed in the event in 2015 and finished in 13th place
The importance jockey Sophie Doyle placed in ensuring her partnership with filly Street Band meant embarking on a 10-hour round trip driving from Chicago to Kentucky every fortnight for a training work-out which lasted less than two minutes.
But it has all been worth it. On Saturday, the sister of Godolphin-retained jockey James Doyle will partner Street Band in the $2million Breeders’ Cup Distaff with a genuine chance of joining Julie Krone and Rosie Napravnik as female winning jockeys at the prestigious meeting.
Doyle has ridden in the Breeders’ Cup before, partnering Fioretti to 13th in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland.
Jockey Sophie Doyle is set to compete in the $2million Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Saturday
But Fioretti arrived with hopes. In Street Band there are genuine expectations.
Doyle, 33, said: ‘It was a 10 hour round trip to breeze Street Band. If I was like Mike Smith, Johnny Velazquez or the Ortiz brother and I was getting on these horses day in day out like they do, then somebody else would have been on her in the quiet breezes.
‘But I am not in that position. I thought ”you have got this opportunity again with a fantastic filly, grab it with both hands”.’
That is what Doyle has done. Larry Jones-trained Street Band earned her berth at Santa Anita when winning the Grade One Cotillion Stakes at Parx in Philadelphia. Together Street Band and Doyle have also won the Fair Grounds Oaks and Indiana Oaks this year.
Doyle added: ‘I was riding work for Larry Jones. I rode Street Band one morning and he said ”you seem like you really fit this filly”.
‘He has given me a fantastic opportunity on her. She has gone from strength to strength and in the Cotillion when she showed she is one of the top three-year-olds of the year right now.
‘I am sure plenty of top jockeys have been calling to try to get the mount but Larry has stood by me.’
The jockey has gone to great lengths to prepare properly for the highly-anticipated race
Doyle’s win on Cotillion allowed her to join Hayley Turner as the only female Flat jockey to win at the highest level. Her overall winnings more than justify the career chance Doyle took crossing the Atlantic in 2013.
Her 472 mounts this season have earned 46 wins and $2,230,942 in prizemoney.. In her US careers the numbers are 277 wins and over $7.7m in prizemoney.
Better rides are coming including a win for Godolphin-owned two-year-old Fair Maiden, who is due to run in Friday’s Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Doyle added: ‘When I first moved it was pretty daunting and it has taken six years to get where I have got to. My rides are getting stronger and there is more consistency.’