Hollie Doyle blog: Cheering on Desert Crown and Sir Michael Stoute in Cazoo Derby and five big rides at Epsom

Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle assesses the Cazoo Derby at Epsom on Saturday, where she has five rides including big handicap prospects Sweeping and Farzan.

Sir Michael has sixth Derby in his grasp

I’m hoping to see one of my racing heroes Sir Michael Stoute win the Cazoo Derby (4.30) at Epsom on Saturday with his exciting colt Desert Crown.

I ride out for the master trainer whenever I’m in Newmarket and will be thrilled for him and his hard-working team if he can achieve his sixth success in the world’s greatest Flat race.

Sir Michael is not one for getting carried away in the media but has been quite bullish about his lovely son of Nathaniel, who showed us all his undoubted potential in the Dante at York on only his second career start.

Winning the Derby would also be a magical experience for his rider Richard Kingscote, who rode him beautifully on the Knavesmire and deserves this opportunity to show the world what a top-class jockey he is.

Dangers are aplenty, but Aidan O’Brien’s Stone Age strikes me as the most potent threat. He’s really coming into his own and looked a serious horse when winning the Derby Trial at Leopardstown. He will almost certainly improve again for the step up to a-mile-and-a-half.

I’m also hoping to see my husband Tom (Marquand) enjoy a good run on outsider Sonny Liston, who will be Charles Hills’s first runner in the great race. His third in the Dee Stakes at Chester was solid enough form to suggest he can run respectably.

Sir Michael Stoute and jockey Richard Kingscote with Dante winner Desert Crown at York

A fitting tribute to Lester

I never had the privilege of meeting the great Lester Piggott but have watched many of his famous races since I became a jockey myself and always found him an inspiration.

His passion, determination and the way horses ran for him was as unique as his remarkable record in the Derby itself so how fitting it is that Saturday’s renewal is to be run in Lester’s honour.

Sweeping has big race credentials

Archie Watson’s Sweeping is a horse we have always thought a lot about. He was fourth in last year’s Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and has the credentials to run a big race in the opening Cazoo Handicap (2.00) at Epsom.

Ground conditions will be to his liking and he is entitled to strip fitter for his comeback run at Wolverhampton last month when he was second to William Haggas’s smart prospect Yonafis.

Archie puts the cheekpieces on him for the first time on Saturday. He’s not ungenuine but the sheepskins should just help him focus in a big field.

Hollie Doyle
Hollie Doyle is hoping the addition of cheekpieces can help Sweeping at Epsom

Don’t expect to see me too soon on Farhan

I won last season’s November Handicap on John Butler’s Farhan, who has plenty going for him in the World Pool Northern Dancer Handicap (5.15).

The key to John Butler’s gelding is not to get there too soon. The twists, turns and undulations should keep his mind occupied and I will be aiming to ride a patient race from my high draw.

Farhan’s re-appearance run in a good handicap at Kempton Park was nice enough but for some reason he just did not perform to his best at Hamilton last time. The ground is in his favour at Epsom so I’m hoping to see him bounce back.

Farhan and Hollie Doyle pull clear of their rivals in the November Handicap
Farhan and Doyle pull clear of their rivals in the November Handicap

Hoping Betty will out-run big odds

Mick Channon’s Flash Betty, who has been highly tried this season, is among the outsiders for the Group Three Cazoo-sponsored Princess Elizabeth Stakes (2.35) over the extended mile.

This is another tough assignment for a filly who was unplaced in the Qipco 1000 Guineas but her second in the Listed Montrose Stakes last season gives me some hope that she may outrun her odds.

I also ride Robert Cowell’s Lipsink in the Simpex Express Dash (3.45). He’s a grand stamp of a horse who should be sharper for his run at York but needs to improve to get involved from a tricky draw in stall five.

The draw has not been kind to me on Jayne Chapple-Hyam’s Full Authority in the JRA Tokyo Trophy Handicap (5.50). He ran okay on the All-Weather at Chelmsford City last time for Silvestre De Sousa and did win on soft ground on debut but seems to prefer a sounder surface nowadays.

Hollie Doyle was speaking to Sky Sports Racing’s Simon Mapletoft

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