Melbourne Cup winning rider Michael Rodd has revealed how a frightful groan in the barrier next to him led to him snaring his first Group 1 ride since returning to Australia earlier this year.
Rodd was riding The King at The Valley last Saturday and started from the adjacent barrier to Dwayne Dunn who was left with fractured vertebrae from violently striking his head on the gates.
Dunn had been meant to ride rising star Master Of Wine in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington this coming Saturday but Rodd picked up the ride with Dunn sidelined with injury.
Rodd wasn’t expecting Team Hawkes to come calling – he says he has never been a go-to jockey for them and hasn’t ridden for them in many years.
But Rodd now has his first Group 1 ride since returning to Australia from Singapore earlier this year.
“It’s unfortunate circumstances, I feel for Dwayne, I was in the barriers next to Dwayne and I heard him groan and knew something was up with him,” Rodd told Racenet.
“I came back early and saw him getting helped off the horse.
“I really don’t like picking up rides in this set of circumstances but someone has got to take the ride.
“Master Of Wine is a quality horse and he took all before him in the autumn.
“It will be interesting to see what the stable has got to say about the first up run (when 12th in the Group 1 Winx Stakes) but you’ve got to remember now he’s a little bit older and he is being aimed for a Caulfield and possible Melbourne Cup tilt.
“I wouldn’t be too concerned.
“The Hawkes are very good in getting them to the grand final.
“I haven’t ridden much for the Hawkes, Dwayne has always been there or someone like Darren Beadman.”
On Saturday, Master Of Wine is rated an $11 chance to give Rodd, who won the 2007 Melbourne Cup on Efficient, his first Australian Group 1 since 2014.
Back in Australia for four months, Rodd is missing his wife and two daughters who flew from Singapore to Queensland when the coronavirus pandemic worsened in Singapore.
Rodd made the decision to base himself in Melbourne but is now separated from his family due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“When we are out of stage four in Victoria, hopefully I can get them down here – it‘s been a long time since I’ve seen them,” Rodd said.
“My wife is from Rockhampton and when we were in Singapore and the virus got bad up there I thought I would send them home, just until it settled down in Singapore.
“But things only got worse.
“I‘ve been back in Melbourne for four months now, it’s been pretty tough and I think most jockeys are doing it a little bit tough at the moment.
“For me, most of the stables have riders so I am just trying to pick up what I can – but riding wise I couldn’t be happier with the way I’m riding.”
Rodd admits he may not have a big spring arsenal but he has high hopes for unbeaten Lindsey Smith three-year-old colt Tydeus who races in Saturday’s Group 2 Danehill Stakes at Flemington.
He is also set to hitch his wagon to Django Freeman who Robert Hickmott has on a potential Cox Plate path.
Originally published asFrightful groan gives Rodd his first Group 1 shot since return home
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