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where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2019-10-17 07:49:09  
Retired in July. Group 1 winner in October? This is no ordinary Joe

Joe Retired in July. Group 1 winner in October? This is no ordinary Joe
Doyle did not have a jockey's licence in July. Now he is preparing to ride one of the leading fancies for the Group 1 Champions Sprint at Ascot on Saturday.

Make A Challenge and Doyle have been on a remarkable journey together over the last few months, with the lightning quick sprinter seeing his mark soar from 66 to 111, and his 23-year-old rider coming out of retirement to play his part in the heartwarming story.

"I was retired four months ago, I didn't even have a licence in July, and now I am riding a horse in a Group 1 on Champions Day at Ascot," said Doyle.

"It's unbelievable really and beyond my wildest dreams. I never thought I would be in a position like this. I cannot thank Denis [Hogan] and his owners for giving me so many opportunities. I will be forever grateful to them."

Describing his mount Make A Challenge, Doyle added: "He seems to be getting better and better and he is just electric when he gets to the races. I have never sat on a horse who can quicken up on soft ground the way he can."

Doyle was a highly promising apprentice in Britain at one point, spending three years with John Quinn and two more with Kevin Ryan, but weight issues took their toll and he did not renew his licence having arrived back home in Ireland in December of 2017.

Last year Hogan handed a lifeline to Doyle, who began to ride out at the trainer's Cloughjordan stable. It has certainly been worth his while returning to the saddle and now bookmakers believe Make A Challenge has a terrific chance of making it six wins from his last seven starts on Saturday.

He is as short as 4-1 co-favourite with Unibet and no bigger than 6-1 elsewhere.

"I sat on him on Tuesday morning and he was absolutely bouncing; he's never been better," said Doyle.

"He gave me a Galway win, a premier handicap win, a Listed win and, if he could give me a Group 1 win, it would be beyond my wildest dreams. It would be absolutely amazing."

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