Doyle has no Arc regrets
James Doyle has no regrets over the tactics employed as Sea Of Class finished an agonising second to Enable in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.
The William Haggas-trained daughter of Sea The Stars made her name this summer by swooping late under patient tactics, collecting two Listed wins at Newbury before adding the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks to an impressive three-year-old tally.
There was no-one more frustrated than myself at being beaten.James Doyle
Sea Of Class was drawn much wider than ideal in the Arc, getting stall 15, and Doyle had her anchored at the rear of the field as they turned into the home straight in Paris.
She weaved a path through a big field of rivals and passed them all, only just failing to collar Enable at the winning line, as John Gosden's filly clung on to win her second successive Arc crown under Frankie Dettori.
The winner raced prominently from a perfect berth in stall six and Dettori was able to pinch a lead on the field from a furlong and a half out that proved crucial.
Doyle suggested he had sought pre-race advice from some greats of the saddle and all concluded that it would be futile asking the filly to change her running style in the circumstances.
"I guess it's easy for the untrained eye to watch a race and say 'he's come too late', but anyone who had seen Sea Of Class run previously knew what was going to happen," he told At The Races.
"All the top-class jockeys I spoke to, from Maureen (Haggas) talking to her father Lester (Piggott), to myself talking to Kieren Fallon, they all said you can't change a horse's running style just because you are running in a different race with a tricky draw and the rest of it. We stuck to our game plan."
Doyle admitted he was concerned throughout the race and, while he got a decent run through the pack, he felt he was simply forced into giving up too much ground.
"I didn't have to put on the brakes. There was just one slight moment when I had to angle out a tiny bit and the horse on my inside just shifted and it pushed me a slightly bit left.
"It was just the ground I had to give away. That was the concerning thing and I was concerned right the way through.
"There was no-one more frustrated than myself at being beaten. It's the richest race in Europe and it's a sickener, but you can't change it."
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