Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michael Rodd is returning home to Queensland, where he hopes to re-establish himself

Having spent most of this year away from his family, Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michael Rodd is returning home to Queensland, in a significant boost for the local riding ranks.

Rodd has long maintained he would return to Queensland and while the 38-year-old still has ambitions to ride again in Sydney and Melbourne, he has decided to call Queensland home again for now.

Rodd’s wife Cara and daughters Lila (4) and Chloe (12 months) left Singapore at the start of the year because of COVID, before Rodd chose to base himself in Melbourne after Singapore racing shut down. The evolving border closures meant he hasn’t seen the family in 10 months.

“It’s been a bizarre year. If you’d told me at the start of the year I wouldn’t see my family for most of it, I would have said that’s not possible,” Rodd said.

“It’s been a massive battle. We thought as soon as everything opened up they would come down, but it never happened.

“So the first priority is to see my family, then we will get back into riding.

“I’m really excited. It feels like I’m coming home.”

It will be the first time the NSW-born jockey has been based permanently in Queensland for 15 years, having won the Premiership as an apprentice in 2001-02.

He spent several weeks up north last year, linking with Tony Gollan to win The Gateway and Magic Millions Cup on Vega One.

Having also partnered Gollan’s Spirit Of Boom to win the Doomben 10,000, Rodd has approached the premier trainer, seeking rides, from early December, pending how long he is required to quarantine. He will first stay at his parents’ home on the NSW Central Coast and then intends to ride work at Newcastle to keep fit ahead of his return.

Gollan said Rodd, who can ride 55kg, will put a bit of pressure on some of the local jockeys to lift a notch.

“Competition makes everyone just that little bit better,” Gollan said.

“Last year Michael answered the call to come back and ride Vega One and we’ve always got on, going back to when I was just starting as a trainer.

“Obviously we’ve got our jockeys who ride for us and that won’t change, but no doubt he will be getting rides off us as well.

“When he was coming back from Singapore I really wanted him to come straight back here to Brisbane, but he had business to do in Victoria.

“He’s a good rider and a top notch bloke.”

Rodd will be managed by Cameron Partington.

“This doesn’t mean I won’t ever ride in Sydney or Melbourne, but the goal for now is to reinstate myself in Brisbane,” he said.

Originally published asRodd’s homecoming has trainers lining up

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