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ZAC LLOYD RISES TO THE TOP. JOINS THE GROUP 1 CLUB

By Graham Potter | Friday, June 14, 2024

Zac Lloyd was back into the normal routine today, in his own words, “back at trackwork and trials, right back into it, just working hard ... keeping it going day by day.”

There is no let-up in racing, but the difference this morning was that Lloyd returned to work as a Group 1 winning rider after his celebrated success aboard the Bjorn Baker trained Stefi Magnetica in the $3 million Stradbroke Handicap ... a memory that will stay with him and the Lloyd racing family forever.

And the good thing is, when it happened, he was able to savour the moment.

“I really enjoyed it. I went past the line and, after a couple of strides, I thought ... damn, I’ve just won,” said Lloyd.

“It was crazy ... and then, on pulling up, Mark Du Plessis, who has been a lifelong friend of mine ... Dylan (Gibbons) ... Tyler (Schiller) ... they were all there to high-five me on pulling up.

“I really enjoyed the canter coming back and seeing everyone ... and then, when I got off my horse, the first few people I was greeted by was my boss James Cummings and my parents.

“Then Dylan, and others, came across and gave me a big hug. It was so good to share that moment with good friends. It was very, very nice of them.

“So, yeah, I was able to take it all in. I enjoyed every moment.”

ZAC LLOYD RISES TO THE TOP. JOINS THE GROUP 1 CLUB

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Top jockey. Top stable. A starting price of $101.

That doesn’t quite make sense after the fact ... but the fact remains that trainer Ciaron Maher, jockey Ryan Maloney and a horse named Socks Nation caused a massive boilover result in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

“She didn’t have the traditional lead-up to the race as the others who were all in the market. So, it was difficult to place her, but she’s been running well enough to suggest she could run a race. Her form didn’t warrant her being that price,” said Maloney.

“Ciaron was happy enough beforehand. He said to me ‘don’t worry about the odds, she’ll run a lot better race than her odds suggest.

“The race panned out beautifully for her,” continued Maloney. “We went at a beautiful tempo. I just sat in second behind the Matthew Dunn horse (the $201 chance Oceans Of Energy). Damien Thornton (the rider of Oceans Of Energy) set a tempo that was not too hard, not too quick, just nice and genuine.

“We were very confident she would stay. From the 600m I was thinking that I don’t want to let those behind me catch me, because they would outsprint her, but we’d had a good enough run to try and pinch it, so I took the bull by the horns and went for home. Read more ...

MAHER, MALONEY AND SOCKS NATION STUN RIVALS AND PUNTERS ALIKE IN A QUEENSLAND OAKS BOILOVER

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The Annabel Neasham trained Bois D’Argent scored a compelling victory in the $1 million, Group 1 Doomben Cup when he powered through the 2000m trip, leading from start to finish and still finding enough to ward off some serious late challenges to salute by a diminishing, oh so narrow margin.

The seven-year-old grey, who finished fourth in the Caulfield Cup in October, had been building nicely enough leading into the race posting a Group 3 fourth place in the JRA Plate at Randwick two runs back, a result which was followed by third place finish in the Gold Coast Cup in his final run before the Doomben Cup.

Both of those runs were on heavy going and Bois D’Argent was back on soft going for the Doomben Cup, a subtle but important change in the racing surface conditions for the grey.

He still has not won on heavy going but has now won five out of nine starts on soft going ... and has been placed on the other four occasions. Read more ...

NEASHAM'S BOIS D'ARGENT WINS THE DOOMBEN CUP UNDER AN INCH PERFECT RIDE FROM BLAKE SHINN

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While punters on the ‘good thing’ I Wish I Win would have winced watching the final strides of the Doomben 10 000 contest as Bella Nipotina arrived with a late flourish to peg back the big race favourite on the line, few could deny that the ultra-consistent, resilient, Ciaron Maher trained Bella Nipotina and jockey Craig Williams deserved their success.

In racing parlance, I Wish I Win had every chance to secure another Group 1 win and Bella Nipotina had every excuse to lose.

While I Wish I Win landed in a perfect position on the rail at the break, Bella Nipotina was slow away. Then, when it mattered most in the home straight, I Wish I Win, who had saved ground, hit the front at the 200m mark ... looking good ... while Bella Nipotina had been forced to track wide to gain clear galloping room leaving her with still four lengths to make up at that stage.

Bella Nipotina cut that deficit to two lengths with 100m left to run but, with I Wish I Win not stopping and running a great race in his own right, it needed an almighty effort from the Ciaron Maher trained mare if she was to come home over the top of I Wish I Win ... and that is exactly what she produced in a Doomben 10 000 thriller to score a last stride victory.

Craig Willaims, as ever, was professionalism and humility personified when talking about the win. Read more ...

BELLA NIPOTINA PREVAILS IN A LAST STRIDE THRILLER

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More racing news


Zac Lloyd ... he earned a ground breaking first Group 1 win aboard Stefi Magnetica in the Stradbroke
Zac Lloyd ... he earned a ground breaking first Group 1 win aboard Stefi Magnetica in the Stradbroke
Socks nation wins the Queensland oaks
Socks nation wins the Queensland oaks
Bois D'Argent is the Doomben Cup winner
Bois D'Argent is the Doomben Cup winner
Bella Nipotina ... the Doomben 10 000 winner
Bella Nipotina ... the Doomben 10 000 winner
Photos: Graham Potter and Darren Winningham
Photos: Graham Potter and Darren Winningham
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