Ruby Walsh: Hollie Doyle’s Champions Day wins shows racing at its best

Gender didn't matter as Hollie Doyle showed on Saturday that she can compete on the biggest stage.

Ruby Walsh

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Ruby Walsh believes Hollie Doyle’s success on British Champions Day at Ascot shows horse racing in its best light, with women able to compete alongside men on a level playing field.

Doyle claimed a historic double with victory in the Long Distance Cup on Trueshan – the first win by a woman on Britain’s richest race day – before a debut Group One triumph as Glen Shiel pipped Brando in a photo finish for the British Champions Sprint Stakes.

Ruby Walsh: Champions Day is contrived – call if Finale Day instead!

Meanwhile, Doyle’s boyfriend Tom Marquand won the biggest race of the day – the Champion Stakes – on Addeybb and then took the Balmoral Handicap aboard the Jessica Harrington-trained Njord.

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s twice-weekly From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Ruby is delighted for Doyle and pleased to see her viewed as direct competition for the male jockeys.

Firstly it’s incredible that four of the six trophies on Champions Day are going back to the same household!

But I think Hollie Doyle will be appreciative if we just call her a jockey – she doesn’t want to be called a female jockey and she’s quite right. Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry were the same, Racheal Blackmore, Josephine Gordon, Hayley Turner – they’re just jockeys.

And I think that’s the brilliance of horse racing. Your gender and race don’t matter – whoever you are, if you can get on a horse and ride winners then people will use you and you will be successful.

Hollie Doyle walked into Ascot on Saturday with the opportunity to earn exactly the same money as Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and Tom Marquand. She had the opportunity to earn exactly the same as the men because she is good enough. And that is all any female in the world has to be to compete with male jockeys – good enough.

Racheal Blackmore, Josephine Gordon and Hayley Turner definitely broke the mould but being good enough is all that is required and Hollie Doyle is. She’s 8st – doesn’t have any weight trouble – and is as fit as anything. Listening to her post-race interviews, comparing her to the other guys, you can listen to how little she is blowing compared to some of the men who came on TV after her.

She’s incredibly fit and can use the whip in her left hand or right hand – she showed that on Glen Shiels where she switched it three times down the straight. It doesn’t matter what gender or race you are – it’s about results and she’s getting them.

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