Jeff Lloyd has been quick to dispel any notion a fortnight of wasting might weaken him, lifting heavily backed favourite Hi Lizzy to victory at Ipswich.
Lloyd has shed four kilograms in the past nine days so he can ride star filly Houtzen at 51kg in the $10 million The Everest at Randwick on Saturday.
Hi Lizzy was heavily backed into $1.45 favouritism but Lloyd had to use all his strength to lift the filly home by a short neck over Woodditton ($4.80) in a 1350m-maiden handicap on Wednesday.
Trainer Tony Gollan summed it up best when he paid credit to Brisbane’s premier jockey.
“Hi Lizzy is only three and it was always going to be tricky from the outside barrier in a small field,” Gollan said.
“When Jeff had to take hold she dropped the bit and Jeff had to work overtime to win.”
“I wouldn’t want it over and I don’t know if I will even watch the replay just yet. I am surprised Hi Lizzy hasn’t won before but she has broken the duck now.”
It was Lloyd’s fourth ride for Gollan this season and his third winner.
“I think she will be a bit better on a bigger track over more ground,” Lloyd said.
Paul Hammersley also had to work hard for his double on Slydini ($3.40) and Gun Bolt ($10).
Co-trainer Daniel Guy said a decision to remove blinkers from Slydini had proved successful after the gelding got home by a short neck in a Class Five handicap (1690m).
“He wore them down today and he might be ready to run a solid 1800 metres now,” Guy said.
Hammersley was able to get giant gelding Gun Bolt into the clear to wear down Dirty Rascal ($5.50) by a short head in a maiden (1350m).
Gun Bolt is trained by Hammersley’s father-in-law Bruce Hill and has been a work in progress.
“He is such a big horse we were worried about him getting around Ipswich but he shows promise,” Hammersley said.