Joe Doyle has wasted no time in showcasing his riding talent with a dream introduction to New Zealand racing.
The 26-year-old Irish jockey posted a winning double at Rotorua to announce himself as another quality addition to the senior domestic riding ranks following the recent arrivals of the South African pair of Warren Kennedy and Craig Zackey.
Doyle donned his silks for the first time on Tuesday and saluted in the opening event with Buccheri and three races later gave another polished winning display aboard Golden Kiwi.
The native of County Tipperary ended his day with a third placing on the Martin Da Cruz-prepared Elusive Nation.
“It has been fantastic, it certainly couldn't have gone any better,” he said.
“It was during COVID that I got it into my head to come here, but obviously everything was shut and I haven't had the opportunity for a couple of years,” he said.
“I am friends with a girl back home who is from New Zealand and I was chatting to her about coming over for a period of time.
“Racing back home is quite quiet going into winter and not a lot happening, flat racing wise. I spoke to her and she said she would text a few people and Tim and Margaret got back to me straight away and were keen for me to come over.
“I can't thank them enough for the start they have given me, they are fantastic people.”
The Kiwi connection that Doyle referred to is Samantha Finnegan, whose husband Francis has trained in New Zealand and Australia and her sister Chrissy Bambry operates a successful stable at Foxton.
Doyle has a career winning tally of more than 180 winners, including five at stakes level and is from a strong Irish racing family.
“My Dad Jim was a National Hunt jockey for years and we've always had horses. I came through the pony club and on to pony racing and at home we do the Ready to Run Sales,” he said.
“That's where it all began and I got my apprentice's licence when I was 16 and was originally with Charlie Swan, who was really, really good to me and one of the best people you could ever work for, a top man.
“I moved to England when I finished school and did five seasons there, but unfortunately my weight got away from me and I ended up taking a year out and went to America.”
Doyle linked up in Florida with fellow Irishman Niall Brennan, a successful breeze-up (Ready to Run) consignor.
“He's huge over there and preps a lot of horses for Darley as well. He helped me get my confidence back and it was so hot my weight fell off me and when I got back home I took out my licence again and had three or four good seasons,” he said.
“I fancied a bit of a change so here I am. It was something I wanted to do and hadn't been to this part of the world so I took my chance and if Tuesday is anything to go by it's going to be very fruitful.
“It's been fantastic and when you come to a new place it's very important to get the first win on the board and I count myself extremely lucky.”