One gets the distinct impression that Brisbane is currently experiencing an embarrassment of riches in the jockey ranks, not so much talent wise, but numbers wise – to a degree that we have never seen before in the city.

The vast majority of jockeys, be they apprentices or fully-fledged riders, are seriously struggling to get rides, to the point where I stand corrected, but I fancy Tim Bell is the only jockey riding at Doomben tomorrow who has a full book of eight rides. Michael Cahill also had a full book after acceptances but Treatmelikealady is now scratched from Race 4, so that denies Michael a full book.

In what I would call “a very worrying sign” for some of the older and long established jockeys – their future at deriving a good living financially from racing, looks fairly bleak. If you think that statement is off the mark, well take ageing jockey Jeff Lloyd. He returned to the Brisbane riding ranks last Saturday after plenty of free publicity on RadioTAB saying how “great” it was to see him back. I fancy that words like “great” are way over the top but anyway to each their own I guess. So the facts and realities are that Jeff Lloyd had just two rides last Saturday at Doomben and tomorrow he has four rides at this stage – and none except the enigmatic La Tikka Rosa in Race 8 are even in the market – so unless Jeff can perform a miracle of biblical proportions on the way to the track, such as parting the Brisbane River waters at Breakfast Creek and then walking across it without getting his shoes wet, it’s a million-to-one and drifting that any of the scrubbers he is riding tomorrow will propel his name onto the front page of the Sunday papers. But Jeff Lloyd’s not the only one under the whip. There’s a stack of others in the same boat. Let me go through some of them.

Robbie Fradd rocked into old Brisbane town recently. He’s like the rest of us and isn’t getting any younger. He has just one ride tomorrow on a 14/1 chance that has more gear changes happening than a supermodel has at a fashion show.

Ageing Larry Cassidy seems to have been around an eternity yet he can only get rides in four races – or just half of the meeting. His four rides come courtesy of just two stables, Gillian Heinrich and Liam Birchley – and one of the four rides is a 50/1 chance, so the marketplace says it’s no hope.

Jason Taylor can sleep in if he likes tomorrow morning, as he doesn’t have to be at Doomben until Race 3 and even then that’s only to ride a 50/1 chance named Serene Saga. Then he teams up with 16/1 chance Nicky Nocky in the following race, 16/1 hope Royal Consort two races later before riding Natural Dancer in the last race on the card. With a book like the first three of his four rides when his alarm goes off in the morning if it was me, I’d pull the covers over my head and hit the snooze button.

Eddie Wilkinson sits on okay yet he can only get one ride on the eight-race card and he’ll pull the covers over his head when the alarm goes off in the morning also, as the thing he’s coming all the way from Caloundra is 100/1 at this point. Needless to say Eddie won’t be able to sleep tonight from the sheer excitement of it all.

Ashley Butler sits on okay and he graduated to the senior ranks a year ago or whenever it was, yet he’s got just one ride (Cyclone Kan – Race 3).

Ditto Micheal Hellyer who has just one ride – and that is on a 14/1 chance, Craiglea Jabiru, in the opening race on the card.

Ryan Wiggins is just back from Kazakhstan, the Greek Isles, or wherever he’s been riding, but he’s only got three rides and according to market assessors, most of them will hold up the next – Bergdork (Race 5), Excellantes (Race 7) and The White Hope (Race 8). Fancy someone ringing you up to offer you the ride on The White Hope. You’d surely have to say “(expletive) – what’s second prize”. So Ryan is another “pull the covers over the head” job when his alarm goes off in the morning.

Tegan Harrison won the apprentices title last season by as far as you can throw a Frisbee in a cyclone – and she’ll win another prize at the Queensland Racing Media Association function next Monday – but she never looked likely to get a full book at Doomben tomorrow and in fact she can only get five rides across the eight races – and even then three of the five are roughies, currently priced at 40/1 (Chavel Delight – Race 2), 14/1 (Yeagar – Race 3) and 16/1 (Real Favulous – Race 6) respectively.

The only other senior jockeys to have what I could call “a respectable book of rides” apart from Tim Bell (8) and Michael Cahill (7) are Jim Byrne (7), Ric McMahon (6) and Damian Browne (6).

Then if we go to the apprentices ranks, even whizz-kid Luke Tarrant who leads the overall jockeys premiership in Brisbane by about as far as Luskin Star won the 1977 Golden Slipper by (7 lengths) can’t get a full book of rides as on present indications he’ll be sitting around twiddling his thumbs when Race 4 is run and won.

Sairyn Fawke the youngster whom I wrote about yesterday that can change whip hands in the home straight, which is about as rare as ugly Hollywood actresses, can only jag three rides – and two of the three are for the stable he’s apprenticed to – Team Meagher.

Bridget Grylls who could ride a winner on the merry-go-round at the local show, the way she’s been riding lately, will be able to go to the Gold Coast and have a swim and a sunbake before heading back to Doomben, as she doesn’t have to be at Doomben until Race 3 and that will be the first of just four rides she’ll have on the day.

I fully acknowledge that three of the eight Doomben races have no claims for apprentices – but “whiz’kid” Luke Tarrant has a ride in all three of those particular races, so if he can get a ride in each of those races then by the law of logic so can the other apprentices.

Racing Queensland Cadet Handicapper Sam Watson has advised the website that the scaled weights for Doomben tomorrow are: Race 3 + 2kgs, Race 6 + 1.5kgs and Race 7 – 2.5kgs. So in my words, not his, Sam Watson is telling us that tomorrow’s Doomben meeting is the best meeting since the Winter Carnival as Race 7, the Group 3 George Moore Stakes, is so strong class wise that he’s had to scale the weights downwards by 2.5kgs and the two races that he had to scale upwards, the amount of weight he had to scale them up is quite insignificant (2kgs and 1.5kgs), so from a handicapping viewpoint –and they are proven time and again to be the best judges in racing – this is a good meeting class wise.

Brisbane Racing Club Track Manager Jim Roberts advised the website late today that the Doomben track is a “good 3” and he further advised that Doomben hasn’t received any rain as at 4.45pm today but Ipswich I can report has had 7mm of rain between 2.45pm and 4.45pm and it’s still drizzling as this notation is made with thunder and lightning about Ipswich. Jim added “the track has a lovely coverage of grass and has been handling the racing really well”.

The apprentice jockey weights for Doomben tomorrow should be:




Sairyn Fawke

50 claims 3kgs

Matthew McGuren

55 claims 2kgs

Geoffrey Goold

54 claims 2kgs

Luke Tarrant

50 claims 1.5kgs

Beau Appo

49 claims 3kgs

Rikki Jamieson

50 claims 3kgs

Travis Wolfgram

54 claims 2kgs

Priscilla Schmidt

51 claims 2kgs

James Orman

53 claims 3kgs

Bridget Grylls

49 claims 2kgs

Sam Payne

53.5 claims 3kgs


Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au I preview the first of three Santa special races of 2014 before the fat man pops in. On www.sydneyracing.com.au there’s a couple of harness stories, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Matt Nicholls has contacted me to say he has a power outage, so his Sandown preview will be up by 8am in the morning.

The Postman is otherwise engaged today and couldn’t send through a tip today for tomorrow’s races. He told me he’ll be back next Friday.

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