The TAB Origin Jockey Series will be bolstered next week with Michael Rodd confirming his return to NSW duties alongside Kathy O’Hara.
Now based in Singapore, Rodd, a winner of 34 Group 1 races including the 2007 Melbourne Cup on Efficient, will return to the Series after guiding the Blues to victory alongside Tye Angland in 2016.
Staged at Doomben and Eagle Farm on December 13 and 14, the Series comprises five heats over the two days, with points awarded across both meetings.
Having prevailed last year, Craig Newitt and Brendon McCoull return to defend their title for Tasmania, while Jim Byrne and Matt McGillivray will once again represent Queensland.
Victoria, the 2017 champions, boast a formidable combination courtesy of Luke Nolen and Brett Prebble, with Dwayne Dunn and Jason Holder representing South Australia and Michael Dee and Samantha Collett to do likewise for New Zealand.
"I’m really looking forward to pulling on the blue jersey this year,” Rodd said.
“After coming so close in 2017, I'm hungry to help NSW to the win.
“Given I'm only 167 centimetres tall and 57 kilograms - with very limited league skills - I could never represent NSW in rugby league so this is the next best thing.
"It’s a great Series to be involved in and it adds something different and exciting to the two days of racing."
Established in 2015, the fields for the two-day Series continue to go from strength-to-strength, with more than 170 Group 1 winners between this year’s contestants.
With the Series commencing next Friday, there will be three races at Doomben before a further two at Eagle Farm the following day.
In addition, the Eagle Farm meeting serves as the start of the new ‘Summer 5’ including The Gateway, a $250,000 race for four-year-olds, which provides ballot-free exemption into the 2020 Stradbroke Handicap.
“The TAB Origin Jockey Series is one of the highlights on the Queensland racing calendar,” Tabcorp Executive General Manager, Wagering, Andy Wright said.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is rugby league, AFL or cricket, every athlete goes to a new level when they pull on their state or national colours and our jockeys are no different.
“The Series has been hotly contested over the first four years and we expect this year to be no different.”
2019 TAB Origin Jockeys Series
Friday, December 13 – Doomben
- Class 2 Plate (Set Weights) 2200 metres;
- Class 2 Plate (Set Weights) 1200 metres; and
- Class 1 Plate (Set Weights) 1350 metres.
Saturday, December 14 – Eagle Farm
- Benchmark 70 1600 metres; and
- Class 3 Plate (Set Weights) 1400 metres.
- Queensland: Jim Byrne and Matt McGillivray;
- NSW: Michael Rodd and Kathy O’Hara;
- Victoria: Luke Nolen and Brett Prebble;
- South Australia: Dwayne Dunn and Jason Holder;
- Tasmania: Craig Newitt and Brendon McCoull; and
- New Zealand: Michael Dee and Samantha Collett.
- 2015: New Zealand;
- 2016: NSW and Western Australia;
- 2017: Victoria; and
- 2018: Tasmania.