By Glenn Davis
In a year when arguably Australia’s greatest racehorse Winx was retired, the career of another champion, Jeff Lloyd, will come to an end at Doomben on Saturday.
Lloyd has close to a full book of rides in his Doomben farewell including some for Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds.
“I’d love to ride a winner on my last day for Toby as he’s been one of my greatest supporters,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd can’t exactly say how many Group 1 wins he’s had in his career but had only one success in Queensland aboard the John Thompson-trained Pear Tart in the Tatt’s Tiara in 2012.
“It’s between 94 and 96,” he said.
“The reason I can’t say exactly is because some races have either been promoted or demoted since I won them.”
Lloyd has seen some of the great horses in the world race during his career and named Frankel as the best.
“Frankel was the best horse I’ve seen race and Wolf Power was the best horse I’ve ridden,” he said.
“It’s always hard to compare horses that race in different countries let alone in different eras.
“No other horse in Australia could do what Winx has done and she was truly world class.”
Winx was rated the world’s best racehorse before bowing out a winner in her swansong in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick in April, stretching her unbeaten winning sequence to 33 wins.
She was an Australian treasure with earnings of more than $26.4 million and in the eyes of many was superior to the legendary Phar Lap.
Lloyd too has become legend in his life time and also plans to end an astonishing career on a winning note.
He believes Australian racing is blessed with some great jockeys but put Zac Purton on the top of the pile.
“Zac is probably the best jockey I’ve seen from Australia. He’s truly world class,” he said.
Lloyd, who turns 58 in September, is not fussed about the list of achievements in his stellar career which includes the rewriting of Queensland racing history.
Lloyd’s career began 40 years ago in South Africa where he won nine junior and senior premierships among a total of 17 senior titles in different parts of the world.
He also rode in Mauritius, Hong Kong, England and Sydney before eventually moving to Queensland eight years ago.
His biggest test came in March, 2013 when he suffered a stroke at the Sunshine Coast races which sidelined him for a year.
He was encouraged to retire then by many of his friends including Sydney trainer and former South African David Payne.
But Lloyd wanted none of it.
He continued his career to ride in more than 600 races in the Sunshine State where he claimed his first Brisbane premiership with 79 winners in 2015/16.
The next season he rewrote Queensland racing history when he smashed Chris Munce's record of 98 with 137 winners.
Lloyd again broke a century of winners with 108 winners in 2017/18 when he claimed the Queensland jockeys’ premiership a third time.
This season he’s once again a runaway leader for a fourth title with 77 winners, 32 wins in front of nearest rival Brad Stewart.
Lloyd, who has ridden more than 5500 winners around the globe, indicated last year he would soon retire before but putting a date to it recently.
Lloyd has no plans to put his feet up after he retires as he plans to spend more time with his sons Jaden and Zac Lloyd.
Jaden is part of Racing Victoria's apprentice program and is currently working at Lindsay Park in South Australia after going through the South African Jockeys Academy.