Jockey Of The Month
Elite Jockey's Of The Month
Some weeks certain Australian jockeys catch the eye and so we've introduced this Jockey Of The Month page to profile jockeys we consider worth keeping an eye on.
Jockey Of The Month: January 2017 Jeff Lloyd
Since our January Horse of the Month was a Queenslander, for this month’s installment of Jockey of the Month, we are going to stray from the beaten path somewhat and select the current leader in the Brisbane Jockeys’ Premiership, Jeff Lloyd.
Lloyd’s qualifications for recognition are myriad. He sits atop the money list with almost 2.7 million in winnings. He has had more starts than any of the other Brisbaners, he has far more wins, almost equal to the next two hoops on the list combined, and his strike rate is superior to all the jockeys in the top twenty, save Michael Rodd, who has only made 10 starts in the current season.
Jeff Lloyd’s work ethic is unquestionable. He is the only jockey on the list to have made more than 300 starts, with his closest pursuer having taken almost 30 fewer rides. From 306 starts, he has 77 wins, 40-1/2 seconds and 22 thirds. Beyond those placings, he has another 56 combined fourth and fifth place finishes.
In terms of prize money, he leads the second placeholder Robbie Fradd by over $800,000.
All that activity has not diluted his strike rate, either, as his 25.2 percent is almost eight percentage points better than Fradd’s.
Gold Coast trainer Toby Edwards, who prepared Houtzen for her Magic Millions victory, is a frequent employer of Lloyd. Edwards has used him eight times, just since the Millions. Liam Birchley is another trainer for whom Lloyd rides frequently and he has ridden for fellow Queenslander Chris Munce, the champion jockey and Melbourne Cup winner who has won most everything of value until swapping his saddle for a stopwatch.
Going forward, Lloyd has a busy schedule over the next several months, as he will be sought after for one or more of the upcoming autumn carnivals. He has three rides on the card for Edwards at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club and he will be taking part in everything from 1000 to 2200 metres, an indication of his versatility.
By the time he reprises his role aboard Houtzen for the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill in March, he will undoubtedly have padded his resume by all criteria.
Lloyd and Houtzen are currently favoured to join Capitalist, Phelan Ready and Dance Hero as winners of the Magic Millions – Golden Slipper Stakes double.
Congratulations and continued success to our January Jockey of the Month, Jeff Lloyd.
Jockey Of The Month: December 2016 Regan Bayliss
Our jockey of the month for December may not be a household name, but Regan Bayliss is well up the list when it comes to the Victoria Metro Jockey Premiership for August 2016 through the end of December 2016.
He is currently ranked number five with 20 wins, 15 seconds and 21 thirds after taking 132 rides in the current season. Only Ben Allen, Damien Oliver, Craig Williams and Dwayne Dunn have won more times, yet Bayliss, at 15.2 percent, trails only Allen in terms of strike rate.
He has taken in over $1.72 million in prize money, which works out to just beyond $13,000 for every time he mounts up. That figure more than doubles when his 56 wins and placings are considered, up to $30,724. As they say, not bad for a day’s work.
There are some quite notable hoops below him on the list, such as Brad Rawiller, Luke Nolen and Kerrin McEvoy, so Bayliss need doff his cap to no one when he walks into the jockeys’ room at any track.
Regan Bayliss took 207 rides last season, notching 16 wins and bringing in just over $1 million in earnings. His strike rate was 7.7 percent and he wound up 19th on the list of Victorian Metro jockeys, so to say he is having a good year would be something of an understatement, as he still has until the end of July 2017 to add to his statistics.
Even though it is the holiday season, Bayliss is having a busy day as this is being written. He had four races scheduled at Yarra Valley, but his mount for the first race, Panzini, was scratched. If the others jump, he will have rides on Von Vacheron, Gold Fontein and Chris Waller’s Baubo when the day is done. Bayliss will work the following days as well, steering horses for Mick Price and the Hayes trinity at Cranbourne and Moonee Valley.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing when you consider Bayliss’ standings in the current season is that he has not ridden a winner in a Group level race; he earns his money the old-fashioned way, by working consistently and consistently finishing either at or near the front of every race he rides.
He is setting metro and rural tracks ablaze and at the tender age of 19, could be easily doing so for the next 30 years. His results thus far place him at number 21 in Australia and for his career; he has brought in over $8 million.
On the day after Christmas, he brought Violent Snow home for the win at $9, so we congratulate Regan Bayliss as our December Jockey of the Month
Jockey Of The Month: November 2016 Kerrin McEvoy
Certain accomplishments supersede others and just as Almandin was our Horse of the Month on the strength alone of winning the Melbourne Cup, so our jockey of the month was selected with the same criterion, although Kerrin McEvoy’s month in November was not without other achievements.
To gain some idea, however, or what winning the Melbourne Cup will do for a jockey, here is a look at some of McEvoy’s statistics.
Eight other jockeys have won more times so far in the early stages of the 2016 – 2017 season, yet in terms of prize money; he is close to double that of his closest competitor, Dwayne Dunn, who has 24 wins to McEvoy’s 10. Only Hugh Bowman has fewer wins and is still 1.5 million of McEvoy’s prize money, and everyone knows that a certain thoroughbred named Winx is responsible for the bulk of Bowman’s $4.6 million haul.
Not one to long bask in the glory of his Melbourne Cup win, McEvoy was soon riding again, guiding Cool Chap to a second in a field of 15 for Lee and Anthony Freedman in an 1800 m race at Flemington.
That same day, he won the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate aboard Aspect, prepared for the 1000 m sprint by Tony McEvoy. Also on that same day, he rode Happy Hannah to third in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes, and then was aboard The United States for a fifth in the in the Group 1 LKS McKinnon Stakes, or as a certain Middle Eastern business concern would have it called, the Emirates Stakes.
He was at Sandown for the following meeting, where he rode eight races, winning the Sandown Cup aboard Qewy, Charlie Appleby’s Irish stayer over 3200m.
His next win came at Geelong on November 13 aboard Manuel. McEvoy then won twice on the 19th at Rosehill, first on the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Princefamous, and then on Religify, one of Chris Waller’s charges.
His next win was at Canterbury, when he took another of Waller’s horses, Miss Ballantine, to the win over 1550 m. His final win in November, discounting that there are still two days of racing left in the month, more than adequate time for someone of his ability to pick up anywhere from one to several wins, came on Serena Bay at Rosehill, where he picked up a win for Gai Waterhouse and her partner Adrian Bott.
All of South Australia can be proud of their native son Kerrin; both for his recent accomplishments, as well as another Melbourne Cup win in 2000 aboard Mike Mornoney’s Brew. He rode for Goldolphin for 11 years and turned in over 500 winners, 29 of which were Group 1. He left Goldolphin in 2014 and has continued on as a freelancer, where he is one of the most in-demand jockeys in the entire country.
Congratulations and heartfelt wishes to our November Jockey of the Month, Kerrin McEvoy
Jockey Of The Month: October 2016 Tommy Berry
Thus far, in the young 2016 – 2017 Australian thoroughbred racing season, it is hard to find a hoop that works harder or smarter than our October Jockey of the Month, Tommy Berry.
Two and a half months into the season, he has made 83 starts and currently sits in second position amongst jockeys competing for the Sydney premiership. Only Kerrin McEvoy, with 71 starts, is anywhere near Berry in terms of showing up for work.
Tommy Berry has ridden 13 winners thus far, finished second on 9 occasions and third in 11 races. He also has a combined 20 fourth and fifth place finishes and his 15.70 percent strike rate is impressive given his number of starts, being surpassed by only well knowns such as Hugh Bowman and Brenton Avdulla when a minimum criterion of 50 starts is applied to the statistics.
All that is good, but where owners and trainers are concerned, it is the prize money captured that defines jockey prowess. Berry currently has over $932, 000 in his bag, giving him an average of over $11,000 for every time he has climbed in the saddle to race.
The thing that makes Berry’s money bag look all the better is that he has been riding not only the major metropolitan venues, but also putting in hard work at the rural tracks. He has been spending a good portion of his time of late riding at Flemington as well, with a third place to his credit earned whilst riding David Pfieffer prepared Denmagic in the Group 1 Meyer Classic on October 29 and a fifth in the Group 1 Victoria Derby on the Hawks’ Swear.
Berry bagged a triple with three consecutive wins in mid-October, one on Nudierudie, at Canterbury on the 21st. Two days prior, on the 19th, he won twice at Warwick Farm, riding Chaussure for Chris Waller, and then again on another Hawks horse, Katswiri.
Berry finished third behind James McDonald and Nash Rawiller, so it is clear that he is quietly going about his business and building the sort of reputation that earns rides with the top stables, trainers and thoroughbreds.
In his burgeoning career, Berry has already pulled in almost $63 million for his employers, and in additions to Hawks and Waller, he has taken many rides for Gai Waterhouse.
He is no stranger to the big stage, either. He has won the Golden Slipper Stakes twice, the first time on Overreach in 2013, and then again in 2015 on Vancouver, the horse he also steered to a win in the Group 3 Canonbury and the Group 2 Todman Stakes at Rosehill and Randwick, respectively.
He teamed with Chautauqua in 2015 and 2016 to salute the post in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Classic. This past autumn at the AJC Championships Carnival, he guided Tavago to a $1.3 million payday in the Group 1 Australian Derby.
Congratulations on past successes and sincere wishes for continued success to Tommy Berry, our October Jockey of the Month.
Jockey Of The Month: September 2016 Dwayne Dunn
On the basis of a year, it is early in the 2016 – 2017 Australian thoroughbred racing season, but Dwayne Dunn is the Jockey of the Month for September 2016.
We picked Dunn in recognition of his claim of the Scobie Breasley Medal for 2016. He edged four-time winner Craig Williams 63 votes to 58. Dunn’s name is atop a list that further down includes the names of Damien Oliver and Brad Rawiller.
Dunn is a jockey that gets around, to be sure. He is a world traveler with 15 Group 1 victories to his credit and he is generally regarded as a hoop that will bring your racer back to you in the same conditions as it was when given to him to ride.
Dwayne Dunn – BetsFree Jockey of the Month: September 2016
In days gone by, he was quite successful in Hong Kong, but returned to South Australia in 2004. Not long after, he was riding for trainer David Hayes, but he won his first Group 1 race, the Blue Diamond Stakes, riding his fellow South Australian, trainer Mark Kavanagh. He was riding Undoubtedly. Dunn would take possession of that race the next three years as well.
His first taste of success in the big metropolitan venues were the 2006 wins of the Caulfield Cup and the Metropolitan Handicap on Hayes’ Tawqeet.
He won 123 races in 2008 whilst riding in Melbourne.
Results such as those put him in high demand and in 2012 he found himself on board All Too Hard, one of the best of the 2009 crop. The pair took the Group 1 races, Caulfield Cup, C.F. Orr Stakes, All Aged Stakes and the Futurity Stakes. Another highlight of that year for Dunn was winning the 1200 m Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes on his local Morphettville racecourse. He also steered Niwot to the 2012 Sydney Cup, proving his ability to win sprints and staying races.
The 43-year-old veteran is currently ranked number two in Victoria for the young season, a combination of his number one ranking on the metro tracks and 17th ranking on the country courses. His Australian ranking places him fifth overall.
At the time of this writing, he has made 68 Victorian starts in the chase for the 2016 2017 Melbourne Jockeys Premiership and has won on 12 occasions, three more than Damien Oliver has. Dunn’s strike rate is 17.60 percent, fifth place overall, but that figure is misleading because all the jockeys ahead of him on percentage have made far fewer starts.
Dunn has just under $900,000 in winnings thus far, which is well beyond any of the jockeys who have a higher percentage.
If he continues throughout the season on his current pace, he would seem an almost prohibitive choice to take the premiership away from Craig Williams, the winner for last season.
Jockey Of The Month: August 2016 Brenton Avdulla
Brenton Avdulla is the BetsFree Jockey of the Month for August. With a winning treble last week to start the new season in style, this award acknowledges Brenton’s win of the NSW’s jockey premiership last season.
Hailing from Melbourne originally, he has benefitted from his shift to Sydney under the guidance of trainer Gai Waterhouse initially. Brenton puts his win last season down to a renewed effort to work harder for success. Riding more often and taking the opportunities when they present themselves.
The winner of four Group One wins over his career so far; and he had a strike rate of around sixteen percent in NSW last season. He had sixty-eight wins on provincial tracks, which lifted him to greater prominence. Bigger stables have begun to regularly book him for important rides and the future looks rosy right now.
Brenton Avdulla is looking forward to possibly his greatest spring carnival yet. Recently he has garnered a few rides for the mighty Godolphin stable and if he can impress them the sky may be the limit. Brenton had a nice win on a young horse called Cocoexel for trainer Chis Waller at Warwick Farm last week.
The Sydney Morning Herald racing journalist, Chris Roots, has declared Brenton Avdulla to be the form Sydney jockey at the moment. Basing this evaluation on the fact that Brenton has saluted at every city Saturday meeting dating back to April. He became a freelance jockey some eighteen months ago and it has been paying dividends for the winning hoop. Trainer John O’Shea reckons Brenton has gone to another level in his riding. Combining that with his naturally light frame, means plenty of rides beckoning from the big stables.
Chris Waller has called him the most dedicated of all the senior riders currently going around in Sydney. Avdulla has a substantial weight advantage over Sydney’s best jockeys, James McDonald and Hugh Bowman. Avdulla has the ride on Kentucky Miss in the San Domenico Stakes for Joe Pride at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Although up against Capitalist, with the wet track a distinct likelihood, Pride is hoping for a better run than the last effort at Caulfield. BetsFree congratulates Brenton Avdulla as a worthy winner of August’s Jockey of the Month; and is reasonably sure that more success is just around the corner. We predict a big spring carnival for this hoop in 2016.
Jockey Of The Month: July 2016 Jim Byrne
Jim Byrne is this month’s BetsFree Jockey of the Month. Sitting, almost, atop the Brisbane jockey’s premiership with 71.5 winners, after a double on Saturday at Eagle Farm, he has only Jeff Lloyd ahead on 74.
With 4 metro meetings remaining it could not get much tighter at the pointy end of things. Jim Byrne is currently sitting second on the Queensland jockey ladder, also, with 115 winners. Could the long-time champion jockey make it another premiership year and go back to back?
Last year’s premiership was Jim’s fourth, after winning his first in the 1997-98 season, and he still looks mighty hungry for more success. In the 2015 season he left all other comers in his wake and secured the title with weeks to spare. This season it is a much closer affair and he will need to come from behind to get the job done. Jim Byrne has the respect of Queensland’s trainers, because he has delivered consistent results year in and year out. Like a well-seasoned racehorse himself he knows how to win whatever the situation and whoever he is up against.
Jim Byrne – BetsFree Jockey of the Month: June 2016
Jim Byrne stays at home for most of his riding exploits, keeping the tracks warm in Brisbane for most of the year. He has, however, matched it with the best jockeys in the land and notched up Group 1 victories. He won the Stradbroke in 1999 on Adam, the Ascot Vale Stakes at Flemington on Gold Edition and the Queensland Cup aboard Murphy’s Delight more recently. Married with a few kids, Jim Byrne is a happy and contented man. He rides a lot of horses for the TJ Gollan stable and the RL Heathcote stable.
An interesting protest by Jim Byrne highlighted the new whip rules and their effect on racing results in this country. When Dream Choice beat Byrne’s mount Upstart Pride (well named in retrospect of the protest by the jockey) Byrne protested to stewards that Jeff Lloyd used his whip 3 times more than allowed, and that this is why his horse won the race.
Although stewards dismissed the protest, you can understand why Jim Byrne protested in the first place, because it does make a crucial difference in those last few strides in the shadow of the winning post. It is a heated topic amongst trainers and jockeys, these new whip guidelines.
BetsFree congratulates Jim Byrne on being declared our Jockey of the Month.
Jockey Of The Month: June 2016 Michelle Payne
Michelle Payne has returned to Twitter, after a week in hospital following her fall at Mildura, which must be a good sign of her returning health.
With all the talk of early retirement following this nasty injury and race fall, BetsFree has decided to make Michelle our BetsFree Jockey of the Month in June. Being the first female jockey to ever win the Melbourne Cup continues to elevate Michelle into the ranks of celebrity across the nation. She has always been an honest toiler on the track, and has never lacked for courage or horse sense.
Michelle Payne – BetsFree Jockey of the Month: June 2016
Michelle Payne’s sister, Therese Patton, has informed the media that the Payne family are hoping that the fall and injury will entice her to retire, whilst at the top of her game. Brother Patrick, the trainer of the horse Michelle was riding at Mildura (ironically called Dutch Courage), reiterates the family sentiment on the issue, but confirms that Michelle was having none of it. Hard as a cat’s head, despite the many injuries she has suffered from race falls during her career, Michelle seems determined to carry on.
In this injury she has suffered damage to her pancreas, and doctors have been concerned about her condition. Previously, she has suffered a fractured skull and bruising to the brain in 2004, and in 2012 Michelle broke four vertebrae and ribs in another race fall.
Michelle Payne is the youngest of ten Payne children, and the entire family has been heavily involved in horse racing for many years. Darren Weir, the nation’s most winning trainer so far this season, is the trainer of Melbourne Cup winner, Prince Of Penzance, the horse that Michelle rode to victory in the race that stops a nation. Michelle Payne had ridden two winners and two second placings at the Mildura meet before her race fall. Michelle rode Prince Of Penzance into second place at Morphettville ten days ago over 1600m in the Robert & Fay Gerard R A Lee Stakes, in the champion horses return to racing.
If anyone has begun to break through the glass ceiling of horse racing, in terms of gender discrimination, it is Michelle Payne. BetsFree salutes Michelle Payne, as our Jockey of the Month; and whatever she decides to do re-her career, we support her decision one hundred percent. At thirty years of age, with a Melbourne Cup under her belt, the world is her oyster in many ways, whatever direction she decides to head in.