Hollie Doyle caps multiple record-breaking 2020 with sportswoman of the year crown

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  • Top jockey Hollie Doyle has been named the 2020 Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year.

    Hollie joins the illustrious list of winners, which includes Denise Lewis, Dame Kelly Holmes and 2019 winner Dina Asher-Smith.

    “I am blown away,” said Hollie.

    “It’s been an unusual year in so many ways and I feel very grateful to have been able to do what I love day in, day out. Seeing my name compared to the previous winners of the award with the likes of Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Dame Kelly Holmes, is pretty crazy and very humbling!”

    Hollie, 24, adds the crown to a phenomenal year of successes.

    She scored her first Royal Ascot win in June aboard Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, following this up with a record-breaking five wins across the same card at Windsor in August.

    By October, she had broken the record for the most winners in a season ridden by a female jockey (117) — a record she herself had set the previous year — reaching the tally two months faster than in 2019.

    Three days later, she broke yet more records on QIPCO British Champions Day.

    Her seven-length victory in the Group Two Long Distance Cup aboard Trueshan, trained by Alan King, was the first time a woman had ridden a winner at British Champions Day.

    She followed this up with a quick double, adding her first Group One victory to her CV with the Archie Watson-trained Glen Shiel holding on by a nose to win the British Champions Sprint Stakes.

    “It is a dream come true, a massive dream come true, especially on this horse. Everyone in the yard adores him,” she said at the time, crediting the win to Archie’s training performance.

    Hollie, a former member of the Radnor & West Hereford branch of the Pony Club, got into the sport through pony racing.

    She won her debut ride under Rules, which came in May 2013 as an amateur aboard The Mongoose at Salisbury.

    After her GCSEs that year, she joined David Evans’ yard in Wales and in 2014 she became an apprentice jockey for Richard Hannon, riding out her claim in November 2017.

    Hollie, who is currently retained jockey for Imad Al Sagar, recently passed the 400 winners mark, 132 of which have been in 2020.

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    British Horseracing Authority (BHA) chair Annamarie Phelps said the accolade is “richly and truly deserved”.

    “In one of the few sports where men and women compete on equal terms Hollie is living proof of the fact that female jockeys can be more than a match for the men,” she said.

    “However, this is about far more than just the boundaries Hollie has broken as a female athlete. Through her dedication, professionalism, bravery, focus, athletic ability and level-headedness Hollie sets the template that all young sportspeople should aspire to, regardless of sport or gender.”

    BHA chief executive Nick Rust added Hollie is a “phenomenal horsewoman, a true professional and a terrific role model”.

    “The frightening thing about her is that she is only just getting started – there truly is no ceiling as to what she could achieve in this sport,” he said.

    “We will all look forward to following her ongoing rise, perhaps one day to become our first female champion jockey.”

    Triathletes Jessica Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown, cyclist Lizzie Deignan and darts player Fallon Sherrock were also on the shortlist for the award, which was held virtually on 25 November.

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