IT was back to reality for champion jockey Michael Rodd at Wodonga yesterday.
Rodd had the flu, which took a slight edge off the high of one of the biggest weekends of his decorated career.
Not only did Rodd guide Atlantic Jewel to a breath-taking first-up win in the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield but he captured his first Scobie Breasley Medal on Sunday night — as the state’s most outstanding rider.
But Rodd had little time to reflect on the glory — he had five rides at Wodonga, three for trainer Mark Kavanagh.
“I’m on a bit of a high at the moment so I actually don’t mind coming to Wodonga,” Rodd said.
“It’s the first time I have ridden at Wodonga.
“I had to ride the stable’s three runners, but I wouldn’t be lying if I said I would prefer to being sitting in St Kilda sipping a beer.
“I haven’t had a chance to celebrate because I have been a bit crook.
“I was in bed early Saturday night and spent most of Sunday laid up in bed as well.
“Winning the medal on Sunday was a massive surprise and I had a couple of champagnes and then headed home early.
“This is our busiest time of the year and I have to put the celebrations on hold for a while.”
Atlantic Jewel has been showered with superlatives ranging from freak to the new queen of the turf after her dominant return to racing after 18 months off with a tendon injury.
Rodd agrees with it all.
“She is an absolute freak,” he said.
“She was up against an awesome field littered with group 1 performers and she treated them like they were a bunch of maidens.
“It’s frightening to think she has gone to another level.”
Rodd is primed for a dominant spring with not only Atlantic Jewel but stablemates December Draw and Super Cool.
Super Cool is prominent in both the Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup markets while Atlantic Jewel has been crunched into $3-favourite for the Cox Plate.
Rodd said he was against the recent decision of the Melbourne Racing Club to stage the feature race on the card as the last race.
For the first time, the Memsie was the final event on Saturday.
Officials are also contemplating running the Cox Plate as the last race of its two-day carnival next month.
“I’m against the decision but I know in my head its probably the best thing for racing,” he said.
“Coming off the track after the Memsie, the atmosphere was dead.
“Usually with a group 1 race people are excited and full of anticipation.
“But as the last race, everyone seemed tired and at the presentation there was nobody there.”
Rodd enjoyed a successful trek to Wodonga with a win on the Luke Oliver-trained Chosen Son and a minor placing with Galop Infernale.