Ashley jockey James Doyle hoping to build on last season’s career highs
James Doyle said it was a ‘lovely’ achievement to be the first jockey to win back-to-back Unibet Lincoln Handicaps at Doncaster races since 2011.
The jockey from Ashley rode red-hot favourite Auxerre, trained by Newmarket-based Charlie Appleby, to a significant two-and-a-quarter-length victory to take his second win in as many years following the 2018 success on Addeybb.
It was also Appleby’s second Lincoln win having won the 2016 event with Secret Brief.
Doyle said: “That’s really nice to know, it’s lovely to get little records like that.
“I feel very fortunate though, as both horses were great and did a lot of the work for me, but it’s still great.
“It’s one of our most important heritage handicaps and it means a lot to have two wins in them.”
Doyle said he hopes it bodes well for the year – with the Lincoln Handicap taking place on the first day of the flat season – as he chases last year’s career-topping statistics.
“I had a career-best season last year in terms of group wins and, in particular, my strike rate,” he said. “I was really happy with that, it was 25 per cent and that’s up there with the absolute best jockeys.
“It will be hard to follow that with better but the aim is there and it’s very encouraging that the season has started as well, if not even better.”
He said that Auxerre will likely be ‘pushed out of the handicap category’ following the win and felt the horse was ready and deserving of a step up in racing quality.
“Charlie is the expert and I certainly wouldn’t be telling him what to do next,” he said.
“But last year’s winner went on to race and win the bet365 Mile at Sandown – that’s a Group 2 race – and I have suggested that might be the place to try him next. We will see but things have started well.”
l Meanwhile, Old Persian provided one highlight in a memorable night for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby at Meydan when running out a convincing winner of the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic.