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Laugh all the way to Ascot glory with Doyle

J A McGrath

James Doyle opened his Royal Ascot account in a blaze of glory, landing three winners at the meeting in 2013.

He has ridden a winner at Europe's most prestigious fixture every year since, bringing to six his total, which is no mean feat against strong international competition.

His first Royal winner for Godolphin came aboard the Michael Halford-trained Portage in last year's Royal Hunt Cup. Now, he feels he has several serious chances of adding to that tally this week.

Doyle discussed, in chronological order, his best three mounts at the glittering five-day meeting.

"I think Barney Roy is set to run a massive race in the G1 St James's Palace Stakes," he said.

"Obviously, we should not underestimate Churchill, who is a dual Guineas winner, but 'Barney' didn't get the rub of the green at Newmarket the last time they met.

"The slow pace didn't help, and also he took a bad step entering the dip. I've sat on him twice since the Guineas and I think he has taken a step forward. I also think he will stay further than a mile.

"One other positive factor going into this very competitive race is that the track will be in his favour," he added.

His next outstanding ride is Laugh Aloud in Wednesday's G2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes. The filly bolted in with Epsom's G3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes by five lengths on Derby Day.

"She gave me a great feel at Epsom," the jockey reported. "She's a typical John Gosden filly in that she has kept progressing.

"She used to race keenly but John has done a fantastic job with her, getting her to settle. Laugh Aloud is a proper filly in the making and I have no hesitation in putting her in my top three of the week," Doyle said.

The third of his three picks for the meeting requires a wait until Friday, for the G2 King Edward VII Stakes, in which the Hugo Palmer-trained Best Of Days will make his seasonal debut.

"He missed the Derby because he had a few little problems. He wasn't quite ready for Epsom," Doyle explained.

"But he was a good two-year-old. I rode him in only one race, when he won the G2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.

"It is not easy attempting to win at Royal Ascot first up (over a mile and a half), but he has been very impressive in his work and I feel he has the class to run a big race in the Edward VII," he added.