Champion jockey Hollie Doyle has won ‘The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year’ award, having been recognised as a pioneer on course to become the face of global horseracing.
In her third year on the pro-racing circuit, Doyle (24) secured a record-breaking 135 wins from 900 races (15% strike rate), ranked as the fifth-best jockey by GB Racing – the sport’s highest-ever ranking achieved by a female athlete.
Last month, Doyle grabbed national headlines by becoming the first female jockey to win a ‘Champions Day’ race at Royal Ascot – a ‘trailblazing achievement’ as she secured back-to-back wins on her maiden outing at the heritage festival.
The first jockey to win the prestigious award in its 33-year history, The Sunday Times reflected on her achievements. “Hollie is a five-foot phenomenon who has changed her whole body shape and is setting new standards in the only athletic sport where women compete on level terms with men,” it said.
Endorsing Doyle as 2020’s leading British sportswomen, The Sunday Times noted the athlete’s potential to revitalise horseracing at home and abroad, with Doyle set to make her US Breeders Cup and Hong Kong International Challenge debuts this December.
“I’m blown away to have won the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year award,” Doyle said. “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 like Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Dame Kelly Holmes is pretty crazy and humbling.”
Doyle’s award has been recognised as a marquee moment for UK racing. Annamarie Phelps, Chair of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), commented: “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.
“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 sports’ people should aspire to, regardless of sport or gender.”