Jim Byrne has sights set on Ryan Maloney in race for Brisbane jockeys’ premiership

Up to a few weeks ago, champion rider Jim Byrne wanted nothing to do with jockeys’ premiership discussions but now he admits he can’t help but feel each blow whenever he runs second or key rival Ryan Maloney boots home a winner.

Byrne, a four-time champion, sits two wins behind Maloney on 63 and is looking to make up for the disappointment of not firing a shot in the Stradbroke Handicap aboard Apache Chase a fortnight ago.

“It was a bit gut wrenching. I was so confident in the Stradbroke that I’d be a top three finisher,” he said of the 13th placed finish.

“It has been a tough 12 months trying to get back and do everything to put yourself in a position then to have such a great chance in our premier race and walk away with nothing at all is a bit heart breaking but that is the industry we’re in.

“It’s through no fault of anyone's, it is just the way it was. I haven’t had a bad carnival but I have had a tough couple of weeks.”

Both Byrne and Maloney have live chances in Saturday’s Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara as they look to grab the last major of the season.

Incredibly, Apache Chase was Byrne’s last victory four weeks ago when he was able to upstage hot favourite Ayrton in the Fred Best Classic.

Ryan Maloney has a slender lead in the title race. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

With just over a month left in the season, Byrne admits the smaller margins are getting to him a bit more as he looks to chase down Maloney’s lead.

“To start with I wasn’t paying much attention to it at all, it was kind of a ‘been there, done that’ thing and wasn’t on my radar,” he said.

“Ryan has had a bit of luck in the last couple of meetings and it gets to the point where you’re thinking ‘ah geez’ anytime he wins.

“I won’t say I was paying attention to it but the last couple of weeks but when you start running too many seconds and things aren’t going your way you think you need to give it a decent dig and try and change something.

“I don’t think I am doing anything wrong, just luck isn’t going my way so that’s what happens sometimes. If I get there I get there and if I don’t, well done to Ryan.”

He rides the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Dame Giselle who is coming out of a hot Dane Ripper Stakes behind Brooklyn Hustle and Odeum.

“I worked her the other morning and it was good work, I was very pleased with how she went,” Byrne said.

“The barrier gods again haven’t been good to us but she is a horse that jumps out and puts herself on speed.”

Originally published asTight title fight brings out competitor in Byrne

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