Stewards hand new year 'bonus' to relieved Lloyd
A double to jockey Jeff Lloyd wasn't the only piece of luck for the South African - with the jockey successfully negotiating himself out of a careless riding suspension with stewards who downgraded their charge to a severe reprimand.
It was a long day for Lloyd, who won the first aboard Grandfield for trainer Derek Cruz and the third for Andy Leung Ting-wah on Oasis Davis, before staying back late to argue his position with the stewards' panel late into the evening.
Stewards had charged Lloyd with a count of careless riding for his efforts on Nice King race five but, after hearing out Lloyd's evidence, the stipes eventually let the veteran walk free with a slap over the wrist.
'I feel like I've ridden a treble, because once the stewards charge you it is very rare that they will hear you out, and I must give them credit for keeping their mind open to my point of view,' Lloyd said. 'It's nice to know that us jockeys can still defend our positions and have the stewards take our evidence into account.'
Lloyd got off to a flying start for Cruz, who also trained a double with Sure Forward when Grandfield sprinted away from his rivals for an impressive 1?length win over Top Speed, who held a margin of three lengths to third placegetter Good Job.
'Grandfield was unlucky last time at Happy Valley and had shown his winning potential in previous runs, but in saying that, he still had to get the job done and I was pleased to see him accelerate the way he did and win well,' Cruz said.
'He's a nicely bred Redoute's Choice gelding and I believe he is still coming into himself even though he is now a five-year-old. It's been a little maturity thing for him, and I think now we can start thinking about stepping him up in trip and tackling stronger races.'
Cruz combined with Tye Angland to re-ignite one of the partnerships of the season with Sure Forward after both trainer and jockey endured a quiet finish to 2010 after a great run of eight early season winners.
'Sure Forward was ridden quieter after an average jump and it seemed to work well for him,' Cruz said. 'Tye was patient, but he got him rolling at the right time and he is another horse who has been a little immature but continues to get stronger every time he runs.
'It's good to get off to a good start to the New Year, we had a great start to the season, but things have been a bit quiet for our stable in the last few weeks, so hopefully this can build some momentum for us again.
'A few of our horses that won early on are probably at their mark in the ratings now, but we have a few still coming through that are starting to show their potential.'
Lloyd's second winner Oasis Davis will back up at Wednesday's Happy Valley meeting and the jockey is hopeful the grey can draw a gate now that he has struck winning form.
'He showed a good turn of foot today and Andy's horses seem to back up OK, so I'm just hopeful we can draw a marble,' Lloyd said.