Jeff Lloyd had a surprise cheer squad when he returned from ensuring he was Brisbane’s premier jockey with an all-the-way win on Rebel Miss at Doomben on Saturday.
Lloyd went into the day with a 5 1/2 win lead over Jim Byrne and Rebel Miss made it a 6 1/2 win gap with only five races left in the Brisbane metropolitan season.
He became the oldest jockey to win the Brisbane premiership at 55 years but he had the smile of a teenager on returning to scale as a huge roar went up from the crowd.
It was 20 of Lloyd’s family and friends led by wife Nicola and sons Zach and Jaden.
“When I was coming back to scale I heard this big cheer and I thought – `gee, this horse has got a lot of owners’. But then I realised it was my family. It gave me a special buzz,” he said.
Lloyd’s story has been a great one as he suffered a stroke in 2013 and his career looked over.
“But I didn’t want my career to end that way and I wanted my boys to see me ride at my best. I have worked hard at my fitness to get back and it is an honour to win the premiership,” Lloyd sad.
“I was looking the other day to see which trainers had supported me best. But there has been eight or nine of them who have been a wonderful support.”
Rebel Miss ($3.70 favourite) showed brilliant speed out of the barriers and ran the field off its feet to score by three lengths to French Jet ($6) with 2 1/4 lengths to Dapper One ($17) in third place in the Two Year Old (1050m).
Winning trainer Matthew Smith, who was at Rosehill on Saturday, pulled the right rein with Right Miss, which was also entered for Rosehill.
The filly ran 33.31 for her last 600m which was very fast for a two-year-old.