Former Melbourne jockey Ryan Maloney has had some anxious moments in the start to his new career in Queensland before celebrating a win on Ancient Aztec at Ipswich.
Maloney gave Ancient Aztec ($1.70) a lovely run and the gelding hung on to score by a half neck to Love Struck ($11) in a maiden Plate 1200m on Wednesday.
After asking to see the race video, Ryan Wiggins, on Love Struck, fired in a protest alleging interference from the 250m.
Stewards dismissed the protest after finding while Ancient Aztec moved out it was not enough to alter the result.
It was Maloney’s first day back riding after a four month-suspension for returning a positive swab to a banned drug in Melbourne.
During his enforced lay-off he answered a request from Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds to come north after the trainer’s stable rider Jeff Lloyd indicated he was to soon retire.
Maloney has ridden more than 800 winners and won three races on boom sprinter Nature Strip earlier this year.
Edmonds said Maloney had the ability to be a major player in Queensland racing.
“Ryan has shown his commitment by moving here. He has been working hard and won a couple of trials for me of late,” Edmonds said.
“Ancient Aztec will be improved by that run and Ryan needed to win to get going.”
James Orman showed why he can challenge for the Brisbane jockeys’ title with a clever win on Lady Bing.
Queensland racing has been dominated by Lloyd who has won the past three premierships.
He will retire before the end of the year and last season’s runner up Robbie Fradd is riding in Mauritius.
Orman missed three months of last season after being injured in a fall at Caloundra in January.
He still finished 11th on the metropolitan premiership with 21 winners and rode 60 winners overall for the season.
The 22-year-old is also likely to get more rides from some top stables including Edmonds.
Orman was last at the 700m on Lady Bing in a slowly run race when he whipped around the field to grab the lead.
Lady Bing ($2.70) went on to win by a half length from Beach Baby ($6) in a maiden handicap 1350m.