Doyle's HK adventure ends on winning note
Popular English jockey Brett Doyle has ridden on and off here for more than a decade but finally grabbed the biggest win of his career yesterday on Joy And Fun in the Chairman's Sprint Prize yesterday, at what might very well be his last ride in the city.
On a day that featured one of the biggest successful betting moves of the season on Berio, $150 down to $36 in the final race, and some successes and failures of note dotted on the card, still nothing took away the spotlight for underrated Doyle and the the equally underrated Joy And Fun.
Doyle, 39, had already finished his club jockey contract this season and returned yesterday for the second leg of the Hong Kong Speed Series on a visitor's permit, linking up with the Derek Cruz-trained eight-year-old who must surely be the jockey's favourite horse.
'I've finished runner-up in Group Ones here five times - the first was in this race years ago with Oriental Express for Ivan Allan, Thumbs Up was another in the Stewards' Cup two years ago. I think I finished second on one for John Moore and I've had Group One seconds with this guy at his last two runs, so to finally get one with my last ride is leaving my run very late,' Doyle said.
He then added, tongue in cheek, 'Maybe I'm going too soon? Anyway, it's great to finally get a big one here, for me and for him.'
Joy And Fun gave Doyle one of the thrills of his career two years ago when they combined to win the Al Quoz Sprint at the meeting which opened Dubai's stunning Meydan racecourse, and the pair look likely to link again there at the end of next month for the same race, which has since been upgraded to Group One status.
'I'm off to Dubai now myself anyway. I've a contract there to ride between now and the end of the Dubai carnival on World Cup night,' Doyle said, but it appears his Hong Kong career has come to an end after 153 winners.
'I was gutted after the Hong Kong Sprint in December because Joy And Fun felt like he was home when he hit the lead, but Lucky Nine proved just too good. Still, if anyone deserves a Group One, it's Joy And Fun, nobody could begrudge him that.'
Jockey Club officials were equally thrilled with the betting handle, which went within close to topping the Lunar New Year meeting which is usually the upper benchmark.
The number of winners Brett Doyle has ridden during his career in Hong Kong