Queensland’s leading apprentice, Jaden Lloyd, looks set to further add to his tally at the Gold Coast on Saturday as he partners Grafton Cup winner Purrfect Deal in race two.
The son of champion jockey Jeff Lloyd, Jaden currently sits three wins clear of Kyle Wilson-Taylor in the Queensland Metropolitan Apprentice Premiership and only one win behind James Orman in the Queensland Metropolitan Jockey Premiership after the latter rode a double at Doomben last Saturday.
Lloyd has a strong book of rides on Pink Ribbon Cup Day at the Gold Coast and is eager to close the gap on Orman.
“That’s alright – I’ll catch him up,” the apprentice told HorseBetting.com.au.
In the opening race of the day, Lloyd partners the Toby & Trent Edmonds-trained Ruuca, who he believes has a strong winning chance after a good first-up run three weeks ago.
While the five-year-old gelding will have to overcome a bad barrier (12), the leading apprentice is hopeful of getting on the board early.
“The horse is actually flying,” Lloyd said.
“I was confident he’d beat The Move first-up, but … you can’t dig him because then he over-races.
“Toby said ‘try and be in front of a couple’ the other day and I jumped to try and be in front of a couple and he just got over-racing and took me, so I had no other option.
“I think we’re going to have to go right back (on Saturday), and just ride him cold because he’s just in that awkward alley.
“The horse is going well. If he had a gate, I’d just about say he wins.”
In the following race of the day, Lloyd will use his 3kg claim to assist Michael Costa’s Grafton Cup-winning mare, Purrfect Deal, who was allocated 65kg in the 2200m event.
While she looks to be the best horse in the race, the young jockey will be hoping she can get the job done for him, as he was pre-booked on the mare before Honourable Spirit – a horse he won on by six lengths last Saturday – accepted for the race.
“I was already booked for Purrfect Deal,” he said.
“Honourable Spirit is flying that horse, he’s really going well.
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“Third back-up in a row might take a bit out of him, that’s what I’m hoping anyway, but I wouldn’t get off Purrfect Deal anyway.
“She’s a very good horse.
“Look, a lot of weight over that ground, but she won with 62kg a couple of starts ago (Grafton Cup Prelude), so I don’t see why she can’t do it again if she gets the right run.”
Lloyd will be having his first sit on the classy mare on Saturday, which he isn’t sure is a good thing given she can be “crazy” at times.
“The horse is flying; she probably should have won last start or should’ve got close to it anyway,” he said.
“She’s a quality horse. If she brings her best, she’ll beat these.”
In the fifth race on the program, Lloyd partners Mary Brosnan’s horse Montez, with the pair looking to make it three straight wins together.
The apprentice has a lot of time for this gelding and is confident they can bring up the hat-trick as he steps out to 1800m.
“He’ll be very hard to beat again,” Lloyd said.
“My dad rides him every day; the last two times he’s come back past me after he’s galloped him and said he just wins, and he did it again, so I don’t see a reason why not.
“He’s going to be right up on the speed; there doesn’t look to be an awful lot of speed, so if he gets a nice time in front, I don’t see why not.
“He’s a horse in form, so I think he’s going to be awfully hard to beat again here.”
All three of Lloyd’s main chances are right in the market on Saturday, with Purrfect Deal the shortest of the three at $3.80 in race two.
Lloyd currently sits on nine metropolitan wins this racing season and is striking at 12.5%.