Jockey Jeff Lloyd has shown his strength with a winning double on his first day back from an enforced holiday at Doomben.
Brisbane’s premier jockey, who missed the first four metropolitan meetings of the season with a double suspension, won on Sky Talk ($2.90) and Plucky Girl ($1.75) on Wednesday.
He showed he had lost none of his vigour to lift both over the line which was his trademark in riding a record number of metropolitan and Queensland winners last season.
Lloyd was riding Sky Talk along from the 800m but the gelding picked up and wore down the field in a maiden (1640m).
“Jeff did the right thing. Sky Talk is a likely future good stayer and you have to get him rolling early,” trainer Matt Dunn said.
Lloyd got through a narrow gap in the straight to drive Plucky Girl through for a narrow win.
Trent Edmonds, stable foreman for his father, trainer Toby Edmonds, said he had just about given up hope when Plucky Girl was strung up on the fence behind the leaders.
“I almost walked away but Jeff got through and Plucky Girl deserved that win,” he said.
Trainer Kelly Schweida also admitted he nearly gave up before Cellargirl kept on course for a possible Sydney campaign with a win in the Three-Year-Old Handicap (1050m).
Cellargirl ($1.50) was about 10 lengths from the leader Royal Myth in the early stages but rattled home to win by 2-1/2 lengths.
It was her first run since injuring a hind leg when she kicked out on a water walker about seven weeks ago.
“I must admit I was worried at the 600 metres. I kept her a bit fresh and thought she would have ben closer than that,” Schweida said.
“Jag (apprentice Guthmann-Chester) didn’t panic and I knew she would finish hard.”
Schweida has Cellargirl in the Group One Golden Rose in Sydney next month where she is rated a $61 chance.
“It is another league down there but has won today so she has taken the right step towards a trip,” Schweida said.
Trainer Bruce Hill is also looking across the border for Liberty Island who won the Class Five (1640m).
Liberty Island was originally trained by Chris Waller and has been consistent since going to Hill’s Gold Coast stable.
“It was a gutsy win and he always tries hard. I think the Murwillumbah Cup in 10 days time will be ideal for him,” Hill said.