Luke rolls along in hunt for title
LUKE Rolls may never have a better chance of winning a Gold Coast jockeys premiership than this season.
Rolls has spent the past decade building his career on the Gold Coast, but despite finishing in the top five over the past three seasons, he has been unable to dethrone King of the Coast Dan Griffin, who won an eighth premiership in 2016-17.
Griffin will miss the first half of this season as he recovers from a shoulder operation, opening the door for his rivals to win the title.
“It’s a big start with Dan not riding,” Rolls said.
“Hopefully this season I can continue the way I’m going and I’ll definitely be a chance of being one of the
top ones, if not taking it out. My last five or six seasons at the Coast I have always been in the top five, if not three.
“I’ve always been up there without actually winning it.”
Rolls, 32, said he wasn’t driven by a premiership but after six Gold Coast wins in the new season he was enjoying his early success.
“It hasn’t really been a goal of mine to win it but it would be really good if I did,” Rolls said.
“I’m just happy to be riding and getting the success that I have been.”
Rolls won the Gold Coast apprentices jockey premiership as a young rider working under trainer Mel Eggleston after starting his career in New Zealand.
He went to Brisbane and finished runner-up in the premiership twice off the back of limited opportunities.
Like many jockeys, Rolls struggled once he lost his claim and it was only through some improved maturity that he turned a corner.
“In my apprenticeship I’d party a lot,” Rolls said.
“I have settled down from that now and I’m more focused on my riding and it seems to have helped.”
Rolls is one of few jockeys who rides trackwork five days a week on the Gold Coast and he credited it for the strong relationships he has built with trainers who frequently offer him rides come race day.
“It’s good to get to know all the horses that you ride and obviously fitness-wise it helps,” Rolls said.
Among his many fans is Eggleston, who said few matched Rolls’ work ethic.
“There is no harder worker than Luke,” he said.
“Him and Jason Taylor would be the only two jockeys I know that ride regularly just about every morning at the Gold Coast Turf Club.
“You can’t begrudge people like that.”
Leading Gold Coast jockey Luke Rolls knows he has to make the most while Dan Griffin is out.