Hollie Doyle became the first female jockey to win a French classic race when she rode favourite Nashwa to victory in the French Oaks (Prix de Diane) at Chantilly on Sunday.
The 25-year-old English jockey had finished third on Nashwa in the Epsom Oaks earlier this month but made no mistake this time riding a brilliant race to prevail.
She has long been seen as flat racing’s equivalent of Irish jumps jockey Rachael Blackmore, who made history in being the first female rider to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup (2022) and the Grand National (2021).
Doyle was congratulated by her fellow jockey and husband Tom Marquand — who finished seventh on Zellie — after passing the post but the winning rider refused to get swept up in what she had achieved.
“I am just priviliged to be in this position. she said.=
“It’s such a prestigious race and this is a huge honour.
“I would not be sitting on this classy filly but for Imad al Sagar (the owner) asking me to ride for him in 2020.”
Doyle grinned when it was suggested that she was as much a star as Nashwa.
“I don’t know about that!”
It was left to Nashwa’s trainer John Gosden — who shares the licence with his son Thady — to lavish praise on her.
“It is wonderful,” said Gosden. “She is a very talented rider. She’s very serious and principled but has a great sense of humour.
“She rode a very good race in what was a muddled contest.
“Full marks to Nashwa’s owner-breeder Imad Al Sagar, who asked me two years ago who he should pick, and I and other people said Hollie Doyle,” added the 71-year-old Englishman.
‘The boss and the romantic’
Doyle was forced to make most of the running and looked to be easy prey for Gerald Mosse as he launched his challenge on La Parisienne in the final two furlongs (400 metres).
But Doyle and Nashwa dug deep to deny 55-year-old Mosse a sixth win in the race — his first win in 1988 came eight years before she was born.
“We were so close but the winner is a rock and was brilliantly ridden by her jockey,” said Yann Lerner who along with his father Carlos trains La Parisienne.