Nashwa ready to fulfil Holly Doyle’s classic dream with the daughter of the mighty Frankel the 4-1 second favourite in the Oaks at Epsom
- Hollie Doyle will seek to become the first female jockey to land a British Classic
- She will ride the 4-1 second favourite Nashwa in the Cazoo Oaks on Friday
- Daughter of Frankel oozed potential when winning both her races this season
Hollie Doyle says it would be a dream come true if she became the first female jockey to land a British Classic on Nashwa in the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom.
The closest a female rider has come to the feat is Doyle’s fourth place on Interpretation in last year’s St Leger.
But no woman has entered one of our five Classics with a better chance than that offered by the 4-1 second favourite. The daughter of the mighty Frankel, trained by John and Thady Gosden, oozed potential when winning both her races this season.
Hollie Doyle will seek to become the first female jockey to land a British Classic on Saturday
- Only two favourites — Minding (2016) and Love (2020) — have won the Oaks in the last 10 years.
- Frankie Dettori with six wins is the most successful active jockey — Balanchine (1994), Moonshell (1995), Kazzia (2002), Enable (2017), Anapurna (2019) and Snowfall (2021).
- Nine of the last 10 winners have been trained by either Aidan O’Brien or John Gosden.
With the two-day Epsom Derby meeting being part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, it is the perfect stage for the 25-year-old jockey, who has achieved more than any of her predecessors to make history.
Doyle said: ‘It would be a dream come true for me and it would hopefully inspire other women to come into the sport.
‘I appreciate how important that is, but because I compete with men on level terms on a day-to-day basis, it’s only when I pop my head out of my little racing bubble that I appreciate that what I’m doing is quite rare.
‘Like Rachael Blackmore winning the Grand National, winning a British Classic is something I dream of doing over the next 10 years or so. It will be another step in my career, and obviously I think about it quite a lot.’
Nashwa is owned and was bred by Imad Alsagar, who retains Doyle and has provided her with a string of horses capable of competing at the top level.
His highest-profile success was in the 2007 Derby with Authorized, owned in partnership with his cousin Saleh Al Homaizi.
Nashwa’s promise shone through on her Newmarket debut in October, when she finished third. She strode to victory on her Haydock comeback in April over a mile and stepped up her performance when winning a Listed race over 10f at Newbury last month. Nashwa will need to improve again and also dispel nagging doubts about her stamina in her first try at a mile and a half, but Doyle is confident the trip will not be an issue.
She added: ‘Nashwa should stay. She’s out of a mare by Pivotal — a miler — but I think she holds a bit more of the Frankel genes than her mum’s genes.
‘She has class and gears. At Haydock, I pushed the button and it took her nearly a furlong to get into top gear. At Newbury, she responded automatically. She made up a lot of ground in a short space of time.’
The daughter of the mighty Frankel oozed potential when winning both her races this season
The opposition includes Tranquil Lady, the Joseph O’Brien-trained filly ridden by Doyle’s husband Tom Marquand. He won his first Classic on O’Brien’s 2020 St Leger scorer Galileo Chrome. Doyle added: ‘Tom might be my husband but it’s very competitive and we don’t give each other an inch. Him having already had a Classic winner makes no difference as I don’t compare myself to him really.
‘I don’t notice much difference between being in a close finish with Tom and in being in one with anybody else.
‘I suppose from the outside looking in it’s quite weird, but we’re so used to it now that it’s not really a thing.
‘It would be something to be fighting out the finish in an Oaks with him — but all I’d be hoping is that I come out on top.
‘There’s probably a bit more banter and chat from my side. I think Tom is probably sick of hearing the word Nashwa over the last three or four weeks!’
In the Gosdens, Doyle has significant allies. The stable have won three of the last eight runnings of the Oaks with Taghrooda (2014), Enable (2017) and Anapurna (2019).
They also supply the biggest danger in unbeaten Musidora Stakes winner Emily Upjohn, the 11-10 favourite who bids to give Frankie Dettori his seventh win in the race.
As usual, trainer Aidan O’Brien, a nine-time Oaks winner who has won five of the last seven runnings, supplies potent threats. His four-strong challenge is headed by Ryan Moore’s mount Tuesday, who has been placed in both the English and Irish 1,000 Guineas.
She is a sister to 2016 Oaks winner Minding and Irish 1,000 Guineas third Concert Hall, whose dam Was won the 2012 Oaks.