Madison Lloyd returns to scale a winner last Friday night
Madison Lloyd has never been to The Valley with stands full of people. The city lights are a long way from Nyah West, some 400 kilometres from where the 19-year-old was raised, but it hasn’t stopped her making Melbourne her playground this year.
While 2020 has been one to forget for many - for Lloyd it will be one to remember. Her most recent win aboard Rock Tycoon in Heat 5 of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge on Friday night leaves her with just Caulfield to conquer of the metropolitan courses and she is on track to ride 100 winners before the end of the calendar year.
These days Lloyd resides in Swan Hill along the Murray River – home to riders such as Matthew Pumpa, Harry Coffey and Chelsea MacFarlane. It makes for a long car trip home after a night at The Valley.
“I think we pulled into the stables at 1:30am but I couldn’t sleep I was way too excited,” Lloyd professed after her breakthrough win.
Lloyd had notched three runner-up placings from her three previous visits to The Valley but admits it can take some getting used to.
“It couldn’t be much more different than Swan Hill,” Lloyd laughs.
“They got a lot faster and it is so much tighter and it takes a bit of getting used to”
Adapting is nothing new to Lloyd, as a child her and her four sisters used to race up and down the paddocks but she wasn’t dreaming of The Valley – more the Olympics – she was a girl with an equestrian dream but a week of work experience with Nathan Hobson changed her mind.
“It’s the adrenaline rush that gets you…Nathan was wrapt to take me on and have me as his apprentice… now he’s got my sister as well!,” Lloyd professed.
Zoe Lloyd who is three years Madison’s senior had the perfect start to her riding career when winning on her first race ride at Swan Hill in early October. But Madison has set the bar high some 93 victories ahead.
“I live with Zoe so there is plenty of racing chatter and she’s good to break up all the travelling with too… they can be pretty long days,” explained Lloyd.
A typical day for Madison starts with a 3am alarm and being at the stables by 3:30am and after riding nine horses hits the road for that day’s races.
Unfortunately Lloyd has been grounded at Swan Hill since last Sunday, after riding a winner at Dunkeld the following day fell off a horse later in the afternoon. She hopes to be cleared for next Saturday’s meeting but in the meantime will have to watch from home as Rock Tycoon goes for back-to-back Valley wins on Friday night.
“It’s devastating to miss the ride I’m not sure how I will cope watching on from the sidelines but Jye (McNeil) has got the ride on him”
“He is a real stable favourite he’s a funny horse with a few quirks he plays with this toy ball all day long and is just very likeable,” explained Lloyd.
So when the crowds return to The Valley, while the sea of people may be an unfamiliar sight to Madison Lloyd, she has already entrenched herself in the winner’s circle.