Gosden: Hollie Doyle Epsom Oaks win would help rid racing of “crusty and clubby” image

Victory for Hollie Doyle and Nashwa in the Cazoo Oaks would be a “wonderful” result for horse racing – and help rid the sport of its “crusty and clubby” image.

The daughter of Frankel, owned by Doyle’s boss, Imad Al Sagar, is a 5-1 shot for the Classic at Epsom on Friday week after an impressive score in the Listed Fillies’ Trial at Newbury 10 days ago. And her trainer John Gosden believes success for the pair could have a “particularly positive” impact on racing – just as British tennis received a boost from Emma Raducanu’s US Open tennis win last September.

“You had a young lady win the US Open and that captured the imagination of the country,” said Gosden who has saddled Taghrooda (2014), Anapurna (2017) and Enable (2019) to Oaks glory. “Anything like this is particularly positive for the sport. It has had an image of being a bit crusty and clubby, but it is not.”

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Comparing Doyle to American star Julie Krone, the Clarehaven trainer went on: “She has an incredible work ethic – she looks at every detail of everything. When Mr Imad Al Sagar asked me about Hollie two or three years ago, I said, ‘It is a great idea if you retain her.’ And he did. If it came off, it would be wonderful.”

Frankie Dettori put Nashwa’s stablemate, and even-money Oaks favourite, Emily Upjohn through her paces at Epsom’s Cazoo Derby Gallops Morning yesterday.

“I think she is in the Taghrooda league,” said Gosden. “It would be silly to start talking about Enable – that would be completely over the top – but the way she quickened today between the three and the two was impressive.”

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