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My giant 18-1 NAP can bag huge place money for a canny new trainer partnership

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BIG-MONEY jockey retainers come with their pros and cons in the world of horse racing, as class act James Doyle found out last weekend.

Over the years Doyle has been in such demand that he’s been the go-to man for the late Saudi-based Prince Khalid Abdullah, Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai team and Coolmore, for whom he was seen to great effect in 2023 on Warm Heart.

Top pilot James Doyle missed out on riding the winner of the 1000 Guineas due to his retainer for Wathnan Racing

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Top pilot James Doyle missed out on riding the winner of the 1000 Guineas due to his retainer for Wathnan RacingCredit: PA

Now, ‘the Doyler’ is in the hands of Qatar-based Wathnan racing, and this afternoon that means he partners one of the organisation’s best horses in the exciting filly Remarquee.


My Saturday NAP

TEDDY BLUE (3.15 Haydock)

Was unlucky in this race last year off 3lb higher when a bad mistake at the last scuppered his chance. Boodles winner Lark In The Mornin heads the market – and that form has been franked several times – but this six-year-old has a right chance of at least placing – and ensuring us a nice return – for the Gary and Josh Moore team.


Last weekend it was very different.

Doyle, who is essentially the main man for the powerful Roger Varian string, missed out on the success of Elmalka in the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

Instead of being at Newmarket to partner the filly he had ridden into a slightly unlucky third in the Fred Darling at Newbury, Doyle was at Longchamp to partner Vermeille runner-up Melo Melo for Wathnan in a Listed event.

The pair were second despite being sent off as the 2-5 favourite. That will have hurt.

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Coincidentally, Remarquee also took in the Fred Darling as a three-year-old, and in victory she went two places better than Elmalka.

After that Ralph Beckett’s charge proved herself a real class act, finishing second in the Coronation Stakes at Ascot and chasing home Nashwa in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes.

Today, Remarquee is due to face eight rivals in the Group 3 William Hill Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes, and on form she is much the best.

The only nagging doubt for punters will be the trip of seven furlongs, which is the shortest the daughter of Kingman has been over since April 22, the day she scored at Newbury.

However, I’m not concerned and expect her to be far too good.

It might just be an excellent afternoon for Doyle at Lingfield, as he is on top Defiance in the Listed William Hill Lingfield Derby Trial, a race that has provided us with Epsom heroes in Anthony Van Dyck, Adayar, Teenoso, Slip Anchor, Kahyasi and High-Rise.

Defiance has already been to Epsom, having finished off powerfully when chasing home Bellum Justum in the Blue Riband Trial.

The son of Camelot looked in need of further that day and gets the longer trip on this occasion. The Aidan O’Brien pair Illinois and The Euphrates look like the two to beat.

I’m hoping the Listed William Hill Oaks Trial will give Kieran Shoemark the opportunity to shine on another filly for John & Thady Gosden.

Shoemark was seen to good effect on Gosdens’ Fallen Soul in the Pretty Polly at Newmarket, and Danielle has improved with every run.

An eyecatching defeat on debut at Southwell was followed by a second at Chelmsford before she came into her own at short odds last time on grass at Wetherby.

The daughter of Cracksman cruised clear on that occasion and the yard won the same event with Fanny Logan in 2019 and she went on to score at Group 2 level.

Danielle is from an excellent Anthony Oppenheimer family and is closely related to the Ascot Gold Cup winner Courage Mon Ami. She should stay all day.

The other horse in the race worth a mention is Treasure, owned by the King and Queen and unbeaten after a success at Nottingham on debut.

Handler Beckett has often used Nottingham to unleash one of his good ones, and Treasure is bred to get this trip.

She’s interesting after the handler landed the Cheshire Oaks this week.

I’m heading to Ascot on Saturday to bring you all the best interviews on Sky Sports Racing, and as always the Victoria Cup will be the tough puzzle everyone wants to solve.

My pin has come down on Pearle d’Or, trained by David O’Meara with 1000 Guineas hero Silvestre de Sousa on top.

The five-year-old is a winner over course and distance and also ran a fine third – off this mark of 90 – when one place behind the re-opposing Popmaster in the Howden Challenge Cup at this track in October.

Conditions are ideal for another big run and the gelding should have blown the cobwebs away with a run at Newmarket where he was bumped at the start and never sighted. An eachway chance.

For my Nap, however, I head to Haydock over jumps for the Swinton.

Teddy Blue was an unlucky second in this last year – a bad mistake at the last was key – off a mark of 132 but might be able to make amends this time.

Strong place claims at the very least. Good luck!

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