Lloyd makes early mark In Singapore, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Lloyd makes early mark In Singapore

Legend Jeff Lloyd’s son emulates father, but rides first Kranji winner quicker

  • Michael Lee

Brisbane jockey Jaden Lloyd had big shoes to fill when he decided to follow into his famous father Jeff’s footsteps in 2019.

It was the same year that Lloyd Sr hung up his boots after 43 glorious years in the saddle, winning in excess of 5,500 races.

They included 94 at Group 1 level, across 10 countries – such as his original base South Africa, Australia and Hong Kong – and 18 champion jockey titles.

But while the 22-year-old South African-born son of the legend still has a long way to go to reach those lofty heights, he has already gone one up on his father, who is now 62 – not once, but twice.

He booted home the first of his 200-odd winners at his 23rd ride on a “bushie”, Autocrat, in a small New South Wales town Jerilderie in September 2019 – whereas Lloyd Sr needed 38 rides to break his duck in South Africa in 1976.

Five years later, Lloyd has again bettered his father for another record of sorts.

Pacific Beauty became his first winner in Singapore – his first overseas jurisdiction – on Feb 11, at only his fourth ride.

The 2006 Singapore Gold Cup-winning Lloyd (on the Patrick Shaw-trained Mr Line) had to wait until his seventh ride, Sigurado II for John Brink, to break through at Bukit Timah on Sept 20, 1997.

He rode 16 winners in Singapore, mostly between 2003 and 2004.

Lloyd was too overwhelmed with joy at the winner’s circle to worry about such trivia.

Besides, Pacific Beauty’s win may have come in a humble $30,000 Class 5 Division 1 race (1,600m), but it was the culmination of a project he had worked on together with his father, who is racing manager to both him and his younger brother Zac.

“This win means a lot to me. I spent time here when my dad rode in Singapore,” said Lloyd.

“I’ve always thought about riding here, especially as it’s coming to an end this year (Oct 5).

“I was doing very well in Brisbane – I just finished second (on Petronius) in the Magic Millions Snippets – but my dad agreed Singapore would be a good experience for five months (until June 22).

“Ricardo Le Grange has helped me settle in and will give me some rides next week.”

After such a flying start, it is most unlikely it is only the South African trainer who will be calling Lloyd.

Even if the Daniel Meagher-trained Pacific Beauty ($29) was his first decent chance, he still produced laudable finishes on two of his first three rides, all no-hopers in three-figure odds territory.

While his maiden mount Surfing Cloud ($335) finished among the also-rans, Ace Nine ($393) and Missile Rain ($218) ran fourth and fifth respectively. But, with the benefit of hindsight, they could have run closer, said Lloyd.

“It took me a few rides to get used to the track and the pattern here. They go a lot quicker here than back home,” he said.

Following trainers’ instructions to a tee also contributed to the short period of adaptation.

“Dan spoke to me before the race and we decided to drop her at the back this time. She was on the speed at her last start,” said Lloyd.

“The plan was to ride her quieter and have the last crack at them. The race set up beautifully for her.”

Meagher was not only glad for Lloyd, but also for getting the monkey off the back with the owners.

“Marc Lerner was supposed to ride her, but he had already been booked on Jungle Cruise,” he said.

“That’s when I rang Jaden. He’s a good kid and he’ll do well here.

“Pacific Beauty is a tough filly. She always puts in her best effort.

“She was unlucky at her last start, she was caught wide. But she raced fantastic at her previous run.

“I’m also glad we finally got a winner for the Pacific Stable.”

The Rubick three-year-old may have been a first Pacific Stable winner for Meagher, but she was in very good company at an auspicious second day of the Chinese New Year for the owners.

The powerful outfit led in three more winners – Pacific Charm ($13) and Pacific Hero ($17) for Jason Ong, and Pacific Victory ($20) for Tan Kah Soon.