By Andrew Adermann
Queensland’s Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership has a new leader on the back of in-form Ryan Maloney’s three winners at Thursday’s twilight Doomben meeting.
Yesterday’s success took Maloney’s season win tally to 38, surpassing previous leader Jim Byrne on 37, who is sidelined with a broken leg after a fall in December.
Young apprentice Baylee Nothdurft charged into second place after his three winners at the same Doomben meeting took his win count to 37.5.
However, both jockeys will have to add to their scores after they each incurred suspensions throughout the meet.
Maloney pleaded guilty to causing interference in the first race of the day, while Nothdurft was found to have used the whip more than permitted on his winning ride aboard Zouvilla in the last.
The 34-year-old Maloney shot to prominence in the last six months as a result of his association with dominant Queensland gelding, Alligator Blood.
Maloney first took the ride back in August 2019, and has since led ‘the Blood’ to six wins and a heartbreaking infamous second placing in the Caulfield Guineas back in October.
After taking out the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas in emphatic style, Maloney will head to Melbourne with the David Vandyke-trained Gator in preparation for the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes, the Group 1 Australian Guineas and the All-Star Mile.
Still an apprentice, Nothdurft has burst on to the Queensland scene over the last two seasons, forging a name as one of the state’s most promising hoops.
His steer aboard A Man To Match in the inaugural $250,000 TAB The Wave on the Gold Coast was a clear stand-out for the 21-year-old, with the horse jumping as a $17 outsider and ridden home to perfection with a late flash down the outside.
There’s still the better part of eight months’ racing within this season’s premiership in what is already shaping to be one of the tightest finishes in many years.
All things going to plan Jim Byrne will resume riding in the coming month, and Michael Cahill, who has been out of action since October, will return to trackwork as early as next week.
Cahill fractured his right foot in a barrier accident and his been sidelined since, despite continuing to ride for ten days after the incident.
Cahill was the star of last year’s winter carnival, riding The Bostonian to two Group 1 wins in the TAB Doomben 10,000 and TAB Kingsford-Smith Cup, adding another five stakes wins for his troubles.
Currently sitting eighth on the premiership table, his return to riding is sure to make those above him a little nervous.
Click here to view the Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership.