Jaden Lloyd experienced one of the highlights of his riding career when the John Symons and Sheila Laxon trained Knight’s Choice scored a stunning win in the $300 000, Group 3 Winx Guineas at the Sunshine Coast back on July 1.
Lloyd’s celebration in the saddle that day was almost as impressive as the performance of Knight’s Choice itself and you can only imagine what level that might be taken to if Lloyd salutes on Knight’s Choice in the $10 million Golden Eagle when he reunites with the horse at Rosehill on Saturday.
Lloyd is under no illusions though about the strength of the opposition facing Queensland’s only representative in the race … and he is also well aware of the fact that Knight’s Choice was not able to follow a preferred route in the races leading into the Golden Eagle, but he is happy to take his chances on a horse he rates highly.
“He has been a little unlucky this prep … things sort of haven’t gone his way,” said Lloyd.
“Ideally, he should have got 1200m … 1400m … and then into the Golden Eagle, but there were no suitable races for him, so they had to send him straight up to the mile (from 1200m) last time (second-up) and he was obviously found wanting over the last 200m. Probably his fitness levels weren’t quite there.
“He also got battered when he suffered interference at the top of the straight. He is only a small horse and he copped an absolute hammering at the top of the straight. It’s hard for horses to pick themselves up again after that and run through the line.
“I thought he ran well in the circumstances. Zac (Lloyd – who rode Knight’s Choice on that occasion) also thought he ran well. (Knight’s Choice finished fifth … 4.70 lengths behind the winner, Unspoken, and less than a length behind the second placed Political Debate).
“So, you would think third-up and back to 1500m would be ideal for him now,” continued Lloyd.
“The draw (barrier ten) doesn’t really matter because he gets back anyway. Hopefully we can have a nice smooth run this time, so I can bring him to the outside and just let him rip home.
“He came back to Queensland after that last run. I rode him in work on Tuesday and I was quite taken with the piece of work he did. Obviously, it is a very strong field, but the horse is flying. He couldn’t be going any better.
“It’s just whether he is good enough now.
“It’s D-Day on Saturday!”