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Ryan Maloney relishing Queensland move

By Jordan Gerrans

Only in reflection did premier Brisbane jockey Ryan Maloney realise just how burnt out he was riding in Victoria a few years ago.

After making the move to Queensland in 2018, the 36-year-old claimed his highest prize in his adopted state on Sunday night at the 2021 TAB Queensland Thoroughbred Awards at Brisbane City Hall, crowned the Queensland Jockey of the Year and Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership winner.

The Group-1 winning jockey has quickly cemented himself as one of the leading riders in the Sunshine State, collecting 119 winners across Queensland last season, including 77 metropolitan victories.

Having previously revealed he has dealt with mental health concerns earlier in his career as well as serving a lengthy suspension in Victoria, Maloney believes the Queensland switch has turned around his career.

“I do not think I would have made it back if I had not made the change and the move to Queensland,” Maloney said.

“I would not change it for anything and I want to see out my career up here now.”

Over the 12 months of the racing season, Maloney claimed five Listed races in Queensland and one south of the border in NSW.

While he did not triumph in any Group level races during 2020-21, he ran second on three separate occasions.

The 2020-21 season was Maloney’s first ever premiership in the saddle and he thanked the Tony Gollan and David Vandyke stables for their on-going support, which delivered him countless quality rides – piloting over 30 winners for both stables.

Ryan Maloney Next Racing

5xyCNOow.jpeg“With the workload, I am able to spend a lot more time with my family while now being based in Queensland,” Maloney said.

“The travel is nowhere near as hectic in Queensland compared to Victoria, it is seven days a week down there with races, track work and trials.

“Until I got suspended and put out on the sidelines, I did not realise how burnt out I was.

“When I made the change to Queensland and saw the sunshine, I was never going back at all.”

Gollan, who also picked up a swag of awards on Sunday night, refereed to Maloney as a “great human being” as well as being a respected hoop.

“He has been great Ryan,” Gollan said.

“He is our go to jockey up here in Queensland and he is a big part of our stable, he is a terrific rider.

“He makes very few mistakes and on top of that, he is a great human being to have linked to our yard.

“The sky is a limit with him and hopefully we can continue to be a force here in Queensland.”

As is usually the case at a racing awards in Queensland, the eight-time Brisbane trainers premiership champion Gollan did not leave empty-handed.

The TAB Queensland Thoroughbred Horse of the Year went to his Group 1 winner Vega One, while he also claimed the Queensland Trainer of the Year and Metropolitan Trainers’ Premiership.

Vega One took out the state’s top prize at the 2021 TAB Queensland Thoroughbred Awards, highlighted by his dramatic win in the Group 1 TAB Kingsford-Smith Cup.
 
The five-year-old commenced his winter campaign with a second placing in the Group 2 TAB Victory Stakes, followed up with his maiden Group 1 triumph, before starting favourite in the Group 1 TAB Stradbroke Handicap where he subsequently ran second.
 
He was also named the 4YO and Older Horse of the Year at the Awards.
 
Gollan’s record-breaking season has seen him claim his eighth straight Trainer of the Year Award, after eclipsing his own state record with 166 wins in 2020-21, as well as again breaking the triple-figure mark for metro victories in successive years with 103 triumphs.

Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said Vega One was a fitting choice for the TAB Queensland Horse of the Year, joining a list of recent winners including Alligator Blood, Yankee Rose and Buffering.
 
“Vega One has shown time and time again that he is one of Queensland’s most consistent gallopers, and this award is thoroughly deserving following his stirring victory in the Group 1 TAB Kingsford-Smith Cup,” Parnell said.
 
“The horse’s trainer, Tony Gollan, has continues to dominate the training ranks, surpassing a number of his own records set last year, including a new benchmark for state wins and an unprecedented second straight season of 100 metropolitan triumphs.
 
“Queensland has unearthed some genuine stars of Australian racing in the last 12 months, with Krone winning a Group 1 race in Sydney, and rising stars Isotope and Rothfire set to represent the Sunshine State with pride over the coming season.
 
“I congratulate all award winners on the evening and look forward to another stellar season of thoroughbred racing in Queensland.”

In total, 30 awards were handed out at the 2021 TAB Queensland Thoroughbred Awards at Brisbane City Hall, a venue Racing Queensland board member Graham Quirk explained had a special connection to the racing industry.

“What people do not realise about City Hall is that this used to be a horse livery before it became City Hall,” Quirk said.

“Our attachment to the horse is integral.

“When we dug up underneath during the restoration, we established an area of pavers in City Hall where horses used to be washed down.

“Our connection to the horse is paramount.”

Tony Gollan Next Racing