Luke rolls along in hunt for ti­tle

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT -

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 Sea­son 2017-18* 2016-17 2015-16 2014-15 Win­ners 6 17 26 18 Po­si­tion Sec­ond Fifth Third Fifth

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.” Win­ner/leader Ryan Plumb (7) Dan Grif­fin (52) Dan Grif­fin (56) Luke Dittman (app, 24)

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.”

Pic­ture: Richard Gosling

Lead­ing Gold Coast jockey Luke Rolls knows he has to make the most while Dan Grif­fin is out. TOM BOSWELL

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