Premiership winning jockey Jeff Lloyd has shrugged off a minor shoulder complaint and has declared himself fit to claim a winning Magic Millions double at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Lloyd had to forego several mounts at the Sunshine Coast last Sunday after complaining of shoulder soreness after running second on the Liam Birchley trained Dazzle Us Again in the second race on the seven event card but has declared himself fit for a big day at the Gold Coast this weekend.
“I went to work this morning and rode five gallops so it was all good. It’s a problem I’ve dealt with for quite a while now,” Lloyd told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
The in-form jockey has two top chances in the main two feature races on the $10 million race day and will ride the undefeated filly Houtzen in the $2m Jeep Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) and the brilliant unbeaten colt Winning Rupert in the $2m Gold Coast Magic Millions 3yo Guineas (1400m).
The Toby Edmonds trained Houtzen jumped to the top of the market order at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Magic Millions 2yo Classic over the weekend after scoring an effortless all the way win an 1100m 2yo Handicap on her home track at the Gold Coast last Saturday but has slipped back to second favourite at $3.70 after drawing barrier twenty-one in the original draw today.
Smart Sydney filly From Within out of the powerful Chris Waller stable was elevated to the top of the market order at $3.60 after drawing perfectly at barrier seven.
Lloyd has been aboard Houtzen at both her race starts and said that she had matured greatly since her debut win over 1050m in a 2yo Handicap at Doomben on December 24.
“I was very encouraged when I worked her the Tuesday before her second start. She’d really put on a lot of condition, matured a lot in a short time which is hard to believe, but she had,” Lloyd said.
“She looked amazing on Saturday, she definitely improved a lot from her first run mentally and physically.”
“She can definitely take a sit. She switches off when she’s behind.”
Houtzen has plenty of gate speed to overcome her horror draw while Lloyd is confident that the I Am Invincible filly will have no problem backing up week to week.
“My only concern is whether she can come into the race as fresh and as well as she was (last week),” Lloyd said.
“But the way she pulled up and got to the line without exerting herself, she recovered quickly.”
Winning Rupert has earned his spot as the odds on favourite for the Magic Millions 3yo Guineas and Lloyd is very confident that the $1.55 chance can keep his unbeaten record intact.
“He’s beaten them (many of his opponents) before in good times. I don’t see a lot in the race that I think can trouble him,” Lloyd said.
Winning Rupert kicked off his winning streak during the 2016 Queensland Winter Carnival and after scoring on debut in a 1000m Sunshine Coast 2yo Plate on April 23 went on to win the Group 2 $175,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Classic (1200m) at Doomben on May 14.
The flashy chestnut three year old hasn’t been headed at three runs from a spell and resumed with a five and three quarter lengths win in a 1200m 3yo Plate at Eagle Farm on December 3 before repeating the effort for an easy win in the Listed $100,000 Delfina’s Bistro Gold Edition Plate (1200m) at Doomben on December 17 prior to winning the Group 3 $200,000 Vo Rogue Plate (1300m) at Eagle Farm on December 31.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bottt trained dual Group 1 winner Global Glamour is the only other runner under the $10 mark at $5.50 and had no luck when held up for a run in the straight when resuming for a ninth in Listed $100,000 Nudgee Quality Handicap (1200m) at Eagle Farm on December 31.
The Flight Stakes and Thousand Guineas winner will appreciate the drop back to her own age group with Tim Clark taking over the reins from Tye Angland in the Magic Millions 3yo Guineas.
“We didn’t see the best of her (Global Glamour) last week, she got held-up at a crucial stage. On her best Group One form, you’ve always got to respect Gai in the big races,” Lloyd said.