Jockey Jim Byrne kept his Brisbane jockey’s premiership hopes alive with a win on Murphy’s Delight in the Listed $100,000 Variety Queensland Cup (3200m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
Byrne and evergreen jockey Jeff Lloyd are locked in a tight battle for the title with Lloyd holding onto a two and half win lead after riding a winning double at Eagle Farm.
As well as winning the Queensland Cup on the Chris Waller trained Murphy’s Delight, Byrne also visited the winner’s stall on One Inch Pinch for Toby Edmonds in the 1400m 0MW Handicap.
With just under two weeks remaining and four metropolitan meetings left in the 2015 – 2016 racing season, Lloyd sits on 74 winners with Byrne hot on his heels with 71.5 wins.
Byrne’s winning double at Eagle Farm came on the back of four wins at Doomben the previous Saturday and Lloyd knows that a two and a half win lead is not enough to feel comfortable in taking out the title.
“Nothing’s a good lead when Jim’s riding like he did the other day (with four winners),” Lloyd told The Courier-Mail.
“It’s been a great contest all year with the three of us.
“Jimmy Orman has been with us the whole way and it was just unlucky for him that he got a suspension at a bad time. But hats off to him for the season he’s had.”
Apprentice Jimmy Orman was also in contention for the premiership title until he was suspended for careless riding and is now out of the contest on 66 wins.
Murphy’s Delight relished the heavy track conditions when he outstayed his rivals in the 3200m contest, vindicating Byrne’s confident heading into the race.
“Looking at the race, I knew there were only a handful of them that would handle the ground and then only a couple that would see out the trip, so my main concern was just giving him a nice run because I knew the horse would do the rest,” Byrne said.
“In a race like that, you know the others are going to knock up so I didn’t want to get behind any of the slow ones.”
“It’s very pleasing to win this race for a third time. It’s great to get a ride for a stable like that (Waller) and it’s great to win a race for that stable.”
Stable representative Joanne Taylor said that Murphy’s Delight would now head to the paddock for a well-deserved break after winning the Queensland Cup at his tenth run tjhis preparation.
“He just takes things in his stride and doesn’t get too worked up in his track work. That’s why he can handle the racing he has,” Taylor said.