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New breakthrough for Hollie Doyle with Saudi Cup ride on Extra Elusive

3 minute read

Hollie Doyle will ride in the world’s richest horse race after Extra Elusive secured an unexpected start in the $20 million Saudi Cup.

Hollie Doyle
Hollie Doyle Picture: (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

A year after Lisa Allpress made history by becoming the first woman to ride a winner in Saudi Arabia as part of the event's international jockeys' challenge, Doyle will break new ground with her participation in the feature race in Riyadh on February 20.

Continuing a long sequence of firsts for the record-breaking jockey, Doyle will partner the Roger Charlton-trained Extra Elusive as the retained rider of the six-year-old's owner Imad Al Sagar, for whom she partnered the gelding to two Group wins last year.

"The Saudi Cup is the world's richest race and if all goes to plan and we can get there and back I will be riding Extra Elusive," said Doyle, 24. "That will be great.

"I haven't sat on him – to be honest, we didn't think he'd get into the Saudi Cup. We received the invitation the other day and we were very surprised. There is a lot of prize-money up for grabs."

Doyle accepted an offer to ride for Al Sagar, best known as the part-owner of 2007 Derby winner Authorized, last summer.

In a breakthrough 2020 she also rode her first Royal Ascot and G1 winners and set a new best for the most winners ridden by a female jockey in a year with 151 wins, earning her a nomination for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, in which she took third.

Doyle rode Extra Elusive to wins in the G3 Rose Of Lancaster and Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor, on a day when she rode a five-timer, and into sixth place in the G1 Champion Stakes, in which another Saudi Cup contender Mishriff was eighth.

"Extra Elusive was improving all last year and his run in the Champion Stakes at Ascot was a bit better than it looked," said Doyle. "We missed the break and he ran a bit keen. We were too far back and he finished mid-division. I thought that was quite a good run but obviously the Saudi Cup will be a big step up in class."

The Saudi Cup will not be Doyle's only ride as she is also set to partner three-year-old Albadri in the $1.5m Saudi Derby.

"I've got Albadri for Jane Chapple-Hyam," she said. "I won on him at Southwell. He is in the Derby and needs to find a fair amount of improvement to be competitive."

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