If you know Ruby Walsh like we do, you’d know he doesn’t hand out praise to anyone lightly. But, he was full of it for Hollie Doyle’s ride on True Self in the Neom Turf Cup last weekend.
Doyle landed the prize for trainer Willie Mullins in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia after a brilliant display, seeing off favourite Channel Maker by a length-and-a-quarter to win.
Ruby was joined on PPTV by ITV Racing analyst Matt Chapman and they agreed that Doyle’s ability is up there with the top-level riders in the sport.
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“Did you see her winning on Willie Mullins’ True Self last week in Riyadh,” Ruby asked Chapman.
“It was incredible to watch. Incredible. Her understanding and interpretation of instructions to just get what she got from what a few people said to her and the way she carried it out – blew me away.”
I’m Hollie’s new biggest fan.
“She has the one thing that you cannot teach people – a tactical understanding of how to ride a race.
“That is something you either have or don’t have and it can’t be taught. She has it. The other things like strength, finish, etc. are all skills that can be taught – but the tactical understanding of pace and positioning is a feel, a gift – and Hollie has it.”
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Chapman heartily went along with Ruby’s assessment and felt Doyle’s deserved to be talked about in the breath as former champion Flat jockey Ryan Moore.
“It’s great to be able to speak of Hollie Doyle and Ryan Moore in the same breath. She’s world class,” Chapman exclaimed.
“While she’s clearly a great rider and horses run for her, her dedication, fitness, understanding of the game and tactical mindset is probably better than her riding, in some ways. For me, Josephine Gordon rides just as well, but the ‘package’ of Hollie Doyle in what I said above is taking her to a higher level. All of that stuff translates into her riding.
“I’m no expert on a jockey’s riding ability, as you well know Ruby, but I’ve done this job for a while, so I do know a little bit despite what everyone might think. That’s how I feel about it.”
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