Hollie Doyle Flat Jockeys Championship
How close are we to having a woman crowned Champion Flat Jockey in the UK?
You can back Hollie Doyle, at odds of 50/1 if you think that she can do it this year? The likelihood is that the odds are a fair representation of her chance, though the time may not be that far away.
Direct competition sports
There are not many sports where males and females compete in direct competition against each other. Equestrian, Snooker, Darts, Horse Racing….
Away from horse racing, Fallon Sherrock made history when she became the first woman to beat a man at the 2019/20 PDC World Darts Championship. Her ground-breaking victories drew huge media attention and an audience from outside the darts world.
Victory for a woman in the Flat Jockeys Championship would give a massive and much-needed boost to the image and overall health of the sport.
You just need to look at the impact Khadijah Mellah had when winning a single race at Goodwood last summer. Maybe not a household name, but she put horse racing in front of a mass of people who would normally not show the sport any interest. This can only be good for the horse racing.
How close are we to a female Champion Jockey?
When I first started taking an interest in horse racing it was about Gee Armytage over the jumps. Each generation seems to reach higher high’s Alex Greaves, Hayley Turner, Josephine Gordon and now Hollie Doyle is pushing new boundaries. Last season, riding a record-breaking 116 winners in the calendar year.
The Flat Jockeys Championship has its oddities. It doesn’t run for the entire calendar year or even span the Turf Flat racing season. In a normal year, wins between the QIPCO Guineas meeting in May and Champions Day at Ascot in October count. How will it work this year? I’d assume that from whenever racing resumes to Champions Day but, who knows?
Hollie Doyle 2019 Flat Racing Season
Of the 116 winners Hollie Doyle rode in 2019, 63 counted for the Jockeys Championship whereas reigning Champion Oisin Murphy racked up a total of 168.
So, there’s still quite a gap to bridge, a look at Hollie Doyle’s ascendancy in recent seasons shows her trajectory.
Hollie Doyle Winning rides
2019 – 116
2018 – 54
2016 – 33
2015 – 2
The Jockeys Championship is not won on ability alone, agents and a huge personal sacrifice play their part in who will be crowned Champion.
There’s no question that Hollie Doyle has the talent to be Champion. The only evidence-based assessment I know of has Hollie Doyle in the top ten Flat jockeys currently riding. Ability is not an issue.
It comes down to the number of rides and the quality of those rides.
In 2019 Hollie Doyle had 116 winners from 819 rides at a 14% win rate. Compare this to Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy who rode 220 winners from 1106 rides at 20%.
A quarter more rides, and if the difference in ability between the two jockeys is negligible then Oisin Murphy got on horses with a 6% better chance than Hollie Doyle did.
Female Champion Jockey
Hollie Doyle’s chance of moving into the realms of Champion Jockey contender will be in part down to her getting support from trainers and owners who could put her on horses with a better chance. Currently, Archie Watson who himself is an upcoming force is her main supplier. In 2019 Hollie Doyle had 237 rides for the Archie Watson stable, coming home in front 46 times.
Support from other high profile stables and or an A-list owner will be key. At odds of 50/1, it may seem a little far-fetched to expect this season. I can see Hollie Doyle advancing on last year’s total but unfortunately, it’s a win only market with no each-way betting.
Progress this year and who knows. It feels inevitable that we’ll see a female champion within the next generation.