Racing

Rodd's excited to ride Down Under

The popular hoop will represent New South Wales in TAB Series

For jockey Michael Rodd, the year-end holiday must wait.

Racing does end in Singapore after Sunday's bumper 11-race programme is run. But while his mates from Kranji pack up after the races and head for those exotic places or wherever, Rodd still has serious riding to do.

But don't feel sorry for the guy. He's quite chuffed. And why not?

Then again, which Australian jockey wouldn't be feeling great about representing his state.

Well that's where Rodd fits.

The popular hoop has been invited to compete in the Queensland TAB Origin Jockey Series which will be held at Eagle Farm and Doomben in Queensland on Dec 13 and 14.

Together with Kathy O'Hara, he will make up the team representing New South Wales.

A well-known and much liked jockey at Kranji where he is now based, Rodd is also a household name Down Under.

And again, why not? He's ridden winners in 34 Group 1 races - the most memorable must be that victory in the 2007 Melbourne Cup astride Efficient.

No stranger to the Series, Rodd partnered Tye Angland to win in 2016.

The Series is made up of five heats over two racedays, with points awarded across both meetings.

Having prevailed last year, Craig Newitt and Brendon McCoull return to defend their title for Tasmania, while Jim Byrne and Matt McGillivray will once again represent Queensland.

Victoria, the 2017 champions, boast a formidable combination courtesy of Luke Nolen and Brett Prebble, with Dwayne Dunn and Jason Holder representing South Australia and Michael Dee and Samantha Collett to do likewise for New Zealand.

"I'm really looking forward to pulling on the blue jersey this year," Rodd said. "After coming so close in 2017, I'm hungry to help NSW wrest the crown.

"Given I'm only 167 centimetres tall and 57 kilograms - with very limited league skills - I could never represent NSW in rugby league so this is the next best thing.

"It's a great Series to be involved in and it adds something different and exciting to the two days of racing."

Established in 2015, the fields for the two-day Series continue to go from strength-to-strength, with more than 170 Group 1 winners between this year's contestants.

With the Series commencing next Friday, there will be three races at Doomben before a further two at Eagle Farm the following day.

In addition, the Eagle Farm meeting serves as the start of the new "Summer 5" including The Gateway, a $250,000 race for four-year-olds, which provides ballot-free exemption into the 2020 Stradbroke Handicap.

"The TAB Origin Jockey Series is one of the highlights on the Queensland racing calendar," Tabcorp executive general manager, wagering, Andy Wright said.

"It doesn't matter whether it is rugby league, AFL or cricket, every athlete goes to a new level when they pull on their state or national colours and our jockeys are no different.

"The Series has been hotly contested over the first four years and we expect this year to be no different."

HORSE RACING