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Queensland home in on first Origin Jockeys Series

By Glenn Davis

The fifth running of the Origin Jockeys’ Series gets underway at Doomben on Friday with Queensland desperate for a breakthrough win.

The Origin Jockeys Series will be run over three heats at Doomben on Friday and a further two heats at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Queensland has failed in each of its previous four attempts to win the Origin battle.

New Zealand claimed the inaugural series in 2015 and since then it has been won by NSW and Western Australia which tied the series in 2016 before Victoria was successful in 2017 and Tasmania last year.

Queensland’s leading rider Jim Byrne and Matt McGillivray will represent Queensland this year and are hoping to draw first blood in Friday’s series’ opening race, the Class 2 Plate (2200m).

Byrne is booked to ride the Paul Duncan-trained Roulette Royal while McGillivray will be aboard La Firebird from the Kim Loy stable.

Singapore jockey and former star Queensland apprentice, Michael Rodd has been a regular visitor to his former home State for the Origin series and will represent NSW along with Kathy O’Hara.

Rodd’s first ride will be on Paris Crystal while O’Hara gets a great chance to give NSW an early lead on the Louise White-trained Joy’s Reward.

Joy’s Reward is one of the early fancies in the series opener following two recent wins at the Sunshine Coast.

A daughter of Shamus Award, Joy’s Reward broke through for her maiden win over 1800 metres on November 22 before stepping up in grade to win an 1800-metre Class Two at the same track on December 1.

Luke Nolen and Brett Prebble will represent Victoria and partner David Scanes’ Chief Command and Niatross for Toowoomba trainer Dale Groves in the opening race.

Dwayne Dunn (Lincoln’s Command) and Jason Holder (Alam Mo Na) also will be hoping to give South Australia an early win in the Origin series opener.

Tasmania’s hopes rest with Craig Newitt and Brendon McCoull while Michael Dee and Samantha Collett will fly the Kiwi flag in the Origin Series.

Racing Queensland webnews   December 11