JEFF LLOYD ON GIVINITSUM
Ken Nicol: Speaking while about to board his flight back to Australia on Monday evening, legendary rider Jeff Lloyd professed himself “very happy” with his Kuda Insurance-sponsored sojourn to ride in this year’s Vodacom Durban July.
“It was a lovely experience. It was great coming back, and I was really happy my children saw what the July is all about. My sponsors looked after us very well and I have absolutely no complaints,” he said.
Jeff and his wife Nicola have three children – daughter Tayah (20) and sons Jaden (16) and Zac (14).
Jaden is already enrolled at the jockey academy in Durban and Zac made a good impression riding work at Ashburton while over here and also has aspirations of a career in the saddle.
In fact, Jeff will be returning to these shores soon, but not as a jockey.
“I am going to come back in mid-September just with Zac, but that is a purely personal trip and I won’t be doing any race riding at all. Zac rides with me a lot in Aus and he can gain more work riding experience here. And I can spend some quality time with him and Jaden.”
Retirement is on the horizon, but he hasn’t made a final decision about the actual cut-off date.
“I will keep riding until the end of the season (31 July), and may pack it in then, or perhaps ride for a few more months. I still have to make a final decision, but will definitely be hanging up my saddle by the end of this year.”
So sadly the great man is fated never to win the “July”, but he certainly made a gallant effort on Made To Conquer last Saturday.
“I was feeling good when I came into the straight and he quickened, and I knew I had the measure of African Night Sky. But I also knew Do It Again would be coming and he simply quickened better than me,” he said.
His runner-up slot on Saturday was his best-ever result in the great race after a number of thirds over the years.
“I wasn’t too despondent afterwards, as my agent for the day Deez Dayanand told me my two other best rides were still to come.
“It was great to have a winner with Givinitsum for Candice Dawson, and Perovskia also ran very well in the last, and I enjoyed working with Michelle, Harold Crawford’s daughter.”
On his impressions of SA racing as a whole he says that not much has changed.
“Summerveld is still an excellent training facility, and the course on Saturday was very good – the rain on Friday helped. And the atmosphere on July Day is still something very special.”
When he emigrated to Australia in 2008 at the age of 46, most would have assumed that the “Guv’nor” was heading into the twilight of his career, but he has had a remarkable amount of success since arriving there.
He has been Queensland Champion on more than one occasion from his base in Brisbane, and all this despite a major health scare, when he suffered a stroke in March 2014.
He made a remarkable recovery and enjoyed an incredible 2016/7 season when he broke the record for most winners in a Queensland season.
Jeff says he has no regrets leaving these shores.
“Australia is a good country and very well run. Racing there has been very good to me, as well as the three years I spent in Hong Kong”.
Very much an Australian citizen these days, he plans to stay in racing over there after retirement.
“But definitely not as a trainer! I will take a few months off then sit down and decide what best suits me.”