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Doyle thrilled to ride at Ascot in Shergar Cup
12 Aug 2017 | Ascot Racecourse 

Hollie Doyle admitted that she is "still in shock" after receiving a last-minute call-up to make her Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.

The 20-year-old apprentice said: "Yesterday morning my agent rang me to say that Michelle Payne was sick and that he had been asked if I was available to be on stand-by for the day. Obviously I was! That was the first I heard of it, but I thought Michelle would be ok. I thought that it would be a great opportunity if it happened but I was sure she would be fine.

"I was riding out this morning when my agent called to say I was in. I got off the horse, got changed, got in the car and came here! The other jockeys have been preparing for this for a long time, whereas I've been thrown straight into it. I think I'm still in shock!

"It's disappointing that Michelle can't be here, but I'm so excited. It's a fantastic chance for me. I love this meeting, it has such a great atmosphere and it's fab to be part of it. It could be the push I need career-wise after being off with injury for a while [she broke her collarbone at Goodwood in June], but it has been a great season for me so far.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet. Hayley [Turner] and Emma-Jayne [Wilson] are two of the top women riders in the world and it's great to be here with them."

Asked about her book of rides, Doyle said: "I like Mr Cowell's horse in the first [Sir Robert Cheval]. He won well at Newbury and I think there will be a good pace for him to aim at today."

Hollie, who originally wanted to be a jump jockey, then has four rides at Lingfield this evening. She is enjoying her best season to date with 35 winners.

Hayley Turner said: "I've watched Hollie improve so much this season and she really deserved a chance like this."

Canada's Emma-Jayne Wilson is competing in her sixth Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, having captained The Girls to an historic success in the 2015 competition.

Speaking before racing today, Wilson said: "It is an absolute privilege to captain The Girls Team. They always put on such a great show here at Ascot and I have a great team behind me - hopefully, we can repeat our previous success here.

"Every jockey that competes wants to win. The energy is really starting to build. Hayley and I walked the course - we are starting to get a little excited and the storm is building up.

"My flight back to Canada is straight after racing and I have 10 rides tomorrow at Woodbine. Hopefully, I will be getting funny looks again at the ticket counter when I turn up smelling of champagne!"

Talking about her rides today, Wilson continued: "I do like Topics in the Dash (1.05pm). He is coming into the race after having had a couple of runs following a long layoff. He seems to be coming into form.

"I also like Niblawi in the Challenge (2.15pm). Hopefully, I can get some points on the board early on and add to them later on. Hollie and Hayley can hopefully help me out."

Hayley Turner, one of Wilson's teammates along with Hollie Doyle, spoke about the ground.

Turner said: "It is soft ground out there. Five of us jockeys walked the course earlier and we all thought it was soft, particularly on the Round Course. As always, the Straight Course is a little bit drier."

Kerrin McEvoy, the Rest of the World team captain, is feeling better this morning following the bout of illness that has ruled his sister-in-law Michelle Payne out of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup day at Ascot.

"I didn't have a great lead up to today but yesterday and this morning I'm feeling better. It's a shame Michelle has unfortunately been ill and hasn't gotten well enough, so it's disappointing for her, she was really looking forward to competing here today.

"Michelle's had a bad run with the Shergar Cup so hopefully it'll be third time lucky next year."

Speaking about whether he would be keen to return to compete in the Shergar Cup next year, McEvoy said:

"I just take it year by year, you have to be invited and you've got to be riding in good races in your own jurisdiction to be invited, so we'll see how it goes."

McEvoy has done some research on his five rides today.

"For me it's been handy to get online and see the replays as well as my knowledge of riding over here. It is handy to get visuals of the horses, see what they can and can't do, both your own and the oppositions rides."

 
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