Hollie Doyle Crowned by Sunday Times & Almond Eye Breaks Records in Japan
First, we must congratulate jockey Hollie Doyle for her award from The Times Newspaper Group in becoming the 2020 top female sportsman. Oisin Murphy, British Champion jockey of 2020 has been banned from race riding by France Galop for the use of cocaine. Almond Eye finishes her brilliant racing career with a win in the Group 1 Japan Cup. Both Hickstead and The Olympic committee in Paris make announcements for future dressage competitions. In The USA, a Grand Prix was held at Wellington in Florida for showjumping.
Racing and Bloodstock
Hollie Doyle cemented her best season by winning the coveted Sunday Times Newspapers award for the best female sportsman of the year. She has had a terrific year in the saddle with Group 1 success together with countless other wins under her belt this season including a double win on Champions Day at Ascot in October. The 24 year old said she was ‘blown away’ by the accolade, and to be joining an elite group of women like Dame Jessica Ennis Hill and Dame Kelly Holmes ‘was crazy!’ Hollie had a total of 135 wins, a record for a female jockey.
Quite a few top jockeys in the past have fallen foul of France Galop in testing positive for cocaine with UK Champion jockey Oisin Murphy being the latest. Murphy was tested following his win on The Lir Jet at Chantilly in July this year. He immediately denied any use of the drug and appealed, also providing hair samples to help exonerate him from the charge. Normally, any drug use of this kind automatically bans a jockey from riding for at least six months. However, in his appeal, where the hair sample did not agree with a urine sample, the French authorities cut his ban from six to three months. Murphy further explained that he had had sex with an un-named partner who he did not realise at the time was a user. France Galop followed a precedent that had been set by tennis player Richard Gasquet a few years ago when the same excuses were provided by the tennis player. Oisin Murphy still strenuously denies that he has ever taken cocaine for medical or social purposes in his life.
One of the major races in Japan was run over the weekend, The Group 1 Japan Cup. It was won by Almond Eye for the second time. The five year old mare has now won more prize money than any other Japanese horse, winning approximately £13.6 million. In her career, she won nine Group 1 races and now retires to stud. The race gave French jockey Christophe Lemaire his third win of a Japan Cup. The Sakae Kunleda trained mare beat Cantrail by 1 ¼ lengths. The third home was Daring Tact a further ½ length behind. All the first three home were Japanese bred and owned. There was only one foreign raider, Way To Paris, who came tenth and now returns to stud in Ireland.
Despite the lock down in the UK, the Tattersalls foal sales went ahead last week with a reduced number of lots on offer. Even with the current trading difficulties and Covid protocols, the sale held up remarkably well. The second top price for a foal at Tattersalls ever, was achieved with a Dubawi colt selling to Godolphin for 700,000 guineas. All the stats were off compared with 2019, but each by only a few percent. Pinhookers, who had already had surprisingly good sales earlier in the autumn, came out on force to replenish stocks for 2021. There were 64 lots from the 791 foals offered made six figures. The average was down by 6% and the median by 9%. The most remarkable figure was the clearance rate of 79%, up 5% from 2019.
Following the announcement earlier in the year that Dressage at Hickstead would no longer be running any competitions, the Bunn family, who own and run the showjumping at Hickstead have said that they are going to run the dressage in the future. Dane Rawlings, who ran dressage at Hickstead since its inception in 1973, but bowed out this year due to financial pressures, said he was delighted that the event could continue after all.
The French Olympic committee have said that they will be using the famous Palace at Versailles as a back drop to the dressage events in 2024. What a background that will make!
A four star CSI showjumping event took place at Wellington in Florida. The Grand Prix was a difficult course with only four out of the 45 starters getting a first round clear. Three of those went on to get a double clear with Lucy Deslauries riding Hester winning in a time of 35.06 seconds, a good second ahead of the second, Jessica Springsteen riding Don Juan Van de Donkheove. In third was brother of the winner, Mario riding Bardolina 2, in further 2 seconds behind Jessica. It was clearly quite a family affair with the Deslauries family riding, training and owning two of the top three horses.