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Fitness doubt on Lloyd as he chases fairytale finish to career

By Glenn Davis

The Paul Perry stable is hopeful of giving premier jockey Jeff Lloyd another major before his retirement when he partners Perast in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben on Saturday.

However, Lloyd will need a doctor’s clearance to fulfill his Stradbroke day commitments after being stood by stewards when he complained of feeling unwell after two rides at the Gold Coast on Wednesday.

Lloyd, who has five rides at Doomben including the Kris Lees-trained Banner Season in the Queensland Derby, has been wasting to shed four kilograms to ride Perast at 50kgs in the Stradbroke.

Perast originally came to Brisbane for the Group 2 Queensland Guineas before taking a detour to the $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap following his all the way win in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic at Doomben two weeks ago.

It followed a similar performance when the three-year-old colt led all the way to claim the Listed Queensland Day Stakes at Doomben last month.

Lloyd, 57, recently posted a century of winners for the second successive season and is again a runaway leader to claim his second Brisbane jockeys’ premiership.

He has announced plans to retire before the end of the year following an illustrious career in the saddle which includes 94 Group 1’s in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa.

He made a remarkable recovery to return to riding after a suffering a career-threatening stroke in 2013.

Lloyd’s only Group 1 win in Queensland was aboard the John Thompson-trained Pear Tart in the Tatt’s Tiara in 2013.

“He (Perast) was originally going to the Queensland Guineas but he raced his way into the Stradbroke after winning the Fred Best,” said Perry’s son, Shannon.

“He came here a very fit horse and we’ve just maintained him at that level.

“He’s spot on and I don’t think on form he has to be any better to win a Group 1.”

Lloyd picked up the ride on Perast after Sydney jockey Tim Clark was unable to make his 50 kilograms.

“It was great to get Jeff after Tim couldn’t make his weight,” Perry said.

“I’m sure Jeff would love to win another major on his way to retirement and he’ll just have to ride him a bit arrogantly.”

Perast is aiming to become only the second Newcastle-trained horse to win the Stradbroke since the Newcastle bulldog, Adam was successful in 1999.

The son of Snitzel has won four of his 14 starts and is destined for a big stud career if he wins the Stradbroke.

“Hopefully he can win a Group 1 as being a colt he’ll have a big future at stud,” Perry said.

Racing Queensland webnews    June 6