Hollie Doyle has now completed the feat of winning a race at every UK Flat racecourse, with her victory in the 2023 running of the historic Carlisle Bell.
Hollie Doyle found the ideal opportunity to ride her first winner at Carlisle, by striking in the 424-year old Stablemate By Agma Carlisle Bell Handicap on board the Heather Main-trained Mostawaa (15/2) on Wednesday 28th June.
The seven year old arrived here in fine form having won each of his last two starts and he was always prominent under Doyle, finding plenty to see off the challenge of the Karl Burke-trained Liamarty Dreams by half a length after rounding the bend with a narrow lead.
The £30,000 Carlisle Bell has a unique place in sporting history, having first been run all the way back in 1599. The mile contest is also run for the oldest sporting trophy in the world – two silver bells which date even further back to 1559.
That victory completes a unique feat for Doyle, who has now ridden a winner at every single Flat track in the UK and she revealed her delight at making the 290-mile journey from her home in Hungerford a winning one.
She said: “He’s turned a corner in his old age. He won at Brighton two starts ago and then he went to York and toughed it out. I got a very easy lead that day and things fell right whereas today there was plenty of pace on paper, so you just never know. He stuck to it well on soft ground and I think we can investigate going up to 10 furlongs now.
“Between the three and the two I didn’t get much of a breather into him and we were going a good gallop. Myself and Pierre (Pierre-Louis Jamin) were kind of taking each other on but to be fair they both fought on well.
“It said it in the paper that I’d only had about four rides here and I thought it was more, but I definitely hadn’t had a winner here up until today. It’s good to get a winner here as it’s a long way to come!”
Meanwhile, the £16,000 consolation race (the Jason Watson 25 Years Carlisle Bell Consolation Handicap) was won in determined style by the Susan Corbett-trained Clear Angel (7/2), who completed a double under Graham Lee having struck at Wetherby in April.
The five year old cost €120,000 as a yearling but has proven to be something of a slow burner for Corbett since being bought for just 1,500 guineas in February 2021.
However, he showed a good attitude to fend off the attentions of the Tim Easterby-trained Strongbowe by a head and Corbett is hopeful that things may have finally clicked into place for the son of Dark Angel.
She said: “It’s been a while in the making, as he was a very expensive yearling and then he kept having issues. We actually bought him online for 1,500 guineas but we obviously needed to do some work on him – he had a bone chip and various things. The owners have waited a while but now they’re getting their just desserts and he seems to be getting better and better.
“I told Graham (Lee) he didn’t do my stress levels any good in-running! He said he didn’t really handle the track so we’ll look to keep him on a flat and galloping track in future as he didn’t seem keen on Carlisle.
“He could still be upwardly mobile. He likes a bit of cut in the ground and we’ve been praying for rain for so long. We’ve nearly gone for races so many times and either the ground was against us, while one day he popped up with an allergy to the shampoo we used! It’s been a comedy of errors so now that we’ve finally got here it’s a lovely moment.”
Report by Nick Seddon; photo courtesy of The Jockey Club/Grossick Photography.
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