The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year award was won by Champion Jockey Hollie Doyle, who was remembered as a visionary on the path to being the face of global horse racing.
Doyle (24) won a record-breaking 135 wins from 900 races (15 percent strike rate) in her third year on the pro-racing circuit, ranked by GB Racing as the fifth-best jockey, the sport’s highest-ever ranking obtained by a female athlete.
Doyle captured national headlines last month for becoming the first female jockey to win a ‘Champions Day’ race at Royal Ascot, a ‘trailblazing achievement’ as she won back-to-back wins at her heritage festival maiden outing.
The Sunday Times commented on her success as the first jockey to receive the coveted award in its 33-year history. “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 the leading British sportswoman in 2020, The Sunday Times noted the ability of the athlete to revitalise horseracing at home and abroad, with Doyle expected to debut this December in the US Breeders Cup and Hong Kong International Challenge.
Doyle said: “I’m blown away to have won the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year award. 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.”
The award from Doyle was recognised as a marquee moment for UK racing. The Chair of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Annamarie Phelps, 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.”