Doyle reaps rewards for Cityscape triumph after landing plum rides for Charlton

Jockey James Doyle is set to be rewarded for his breakthrough success on Cityscape in the Group One Dubai Duty Free Stakes on Saturday with the majority of rides this season for Roger Charlton including Classic aspirant Top Offer.

In under two minutes at Meydan, Doyle’s mount earned close to £2million, more than all his winners had collectively garnered in his eight seasons when his biggest prize was a £50,000 Windsor handicap sprint.

The textbook riding performance under pressure, with Doyle kicking Cityscape clear over two furlongs out to beat a world-class field of  jockeys on his first Group One mount.

The big one: James Doyle celebrates winning on Cityscape

The big one: James Doyle celebrates winning on Cityscape

Doyle’s performance reinforced the view of some jockey analysts that the 23-year-old has excelled on moderate horses without getting the breaks.

That looks set to change with the support of Charlton, who has lost the services of Steve Drowne for the foreseeable future as he undergoes neurological tests after experiencing dizzy spells. 

Doyle had just over a dozen rides Charlton last year but the trainer said: ‘If Top Offer runs in the Greenham,  I would expect James to ride. He will ride the majority of my horses. I feel very sorry for Steve. We have had very good but you have to move on.

‘James rode 76 winner last year and there is no-one above him in the list who is available or who I would want. I think he has learnt greatly from his experience riding in Dubai this winter and has sensible head on his shoulders.

Gold: Doyle clutches his trophy after riding Cityscape to victory

Gold: Doyle clutches his trophy after riding Cityscape to victory

‘The fact his performances have been highlighted in the statistics helps your argument when selling him to owners. You can sell Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes anytime.

‘I think to a certain extent James’s name had slipped beneath the radar. If you had asked me 12 months ago about him, I would not have able to tell you that much.

‘Not everyone is brave enough to put their heads on the block and try something completely different and (owner) Prince Khaled Abdullah was quite brave to let him ride the horse in a Group One race.’

While Cityscape is likely to tread an international path in continued search of big-money prizes, Top Offer could potentially offer domestic Classic opportunities.

Only the beginning: Doyle's win looks set to catapult him to better things

Only the beginning: Doyle's win looks set to catapult him to better things

The colt is 6-1 second favourite for the 2,000 Guineas, although Charlton points out he still must step forward considerably from his Newbury maiden win to justify those odds.

For Doyle, who rode 23 winners in Dubai over the winter and whose sister Sophie is one of the top female jockeys on the circuit, the surge in his fortunes is reward for battling through a quiet time after he lost his apprentice claim and almost embarked on a plumbing course. 

Doyle, in action at Lingfield on Wednesday, said: ‘I only had 28 winners that year, which wasn’t that bad but I had always said I did not want to become a journey-man jockey struggling to make a living.’

He’s grateful now he never swapped his whip for wrench.



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