Zac Lloyd landed his maiden Group 1 on Saturday

Zac Lloyd landed his maiden Group 1 on Saturday

Zac Lloyd is one of the best young hoops in the country, the 20-year-old making his Group 1 breakthrough in the Stradbroke

News Insights

  • Trying to follow in Dad’s footsteps
  • Lloyd is only 20 years old
  • Emotional win for local owners
  • JJ Atkins and Q22 also on the card

November 2020 saw Zac Lloyd make his race debut as a jockey. He has already notched up more than 300 winners and now has his first Group 1 success after the Stradbroke Handicap on Saturday courtesy of the Bjorn Baker-trained Stefi Magnetica. 

What Zac Lloyd has accomplished at such a young age is impressive. It is in his family of course but even in his wildest dreams, Lloyd can’t have imagined that at the age of 20, he would have such a string of winners to his credit, including his first at the top level. 

94 Group 1 wins for Jeff Lloyd 

Zac is the son of one of the top gun jocks of his generation, Jeff. His dad would salute more than 5,500 times in a remarkable career that saw him win not only on home soil in Australia but also in Hong Kong, Mauritius and South Africa. 94 of those winners were at the top level of the sport, an excellent return on a superb career.  
 
It was in South Africa that Zac was born but he was raised in Queensland which makes Saturday’s win at Eagle Farm all the sweeter for the family, picking up that maiden Group 1 at home. Links with Godolphin this early in his career suggest that Lloyd is as well-regarded as any young jockey in the country and he is showing exactly why. 

Stefi Magnetica salutes in the Stradbroke 

It was a local success with the Cunningham Thoroughbred-owned Stefi Magnetica leading them home in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap. While she is trained in Sydney, the owners themselves hail from Queensland with this an emotional success after part owner Loralie Cunningham’s battle with breast cancer. 
 
It is also keeping it in the family as Mid Summer Music, the dam of Stefi Magnetica, also won the Stradbroke, her success coming in 2012. The 2024 winner is the first three-year-old filly in more than two decades to win this contest. 
 
Trainer Bjorn Baker is currently in England attending the wedding of jockey Rachel King so he was not present for his seventh Group 1 saluter, with three of those coming from just 11 runners this season. They are a stable who are really starting to get to the top of the sport now. 
 
A wide barrier was no issue for Lloyd who dropped close to the inner rail and found the gaps opening at the right time to hold off the similarly wide-drawn Bella Nipotina who did nothing to harm her reputation as one of the toughest mares in training. The pair pulled well clear of Vilana who ran well in third.  

Big wins in JJ Atkins and Q22 

There were other big races on the Eagle Farm card with Broadsiding beating the JJ Atkins field absolutely senseless, saluting by more than four lengths. The Godolphin colt took a while to get off the mark but now that he has, he is turning into arguably the top two-year-old in the country. Where he runs in the spring will be interesting but the Cox Plate looks a natural target for him at present. 
 
Annabel Neasham will have big targets to aim at in the spring with the Q22 winner Fawkner Park. The further he went in the 2200m Group 2 contest, the stronger he looked so the likes of the Caulfield Cup and perhaps Melbourne Cup will come into consideration later in the year for the progressive five-year-old.   

There is little doubt that the future in Australia is bright at present with Lloyd joined by the likes of Dylan Gibbons and Tyler Schiller with big winners on Saturday. It looks certain that this will be the first Group 1 win of many for Lloyd who takes his first step on the path to chasing down his dad’s 94. 

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