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By Graham Potter with Jeff Lloyd | Friday, January 15, 2021

Earlier this week HRO published a book review of The Guv – overcoming the odds – by Jeff Lloyd and Jane Baldwin. Many people want to know what exactly goes into producing a book of this nature, particularly as it covers such a long period of time.

To that end, Lloyd spoke to HRO’s Graham Potter, giving the back-story of how the book went from concept to print to distribution and what the whole process has giving him in return for undertaking the challenge.


Q: “Writing a book, for anybody, is a big decision and an even bigger undertaking. Did you have an idea yourself in the latter years of your career to do it who were you being prompted by others to write a book?”

Lloyd: “I was being prompted by Jane (Baldwin), who eventually wrote the book with me. I had a couple of people before that who mentioned it to me … but it went over my head. I didn’t take them seriously. At the time I wasn’t sure about the idea. I just knew how unorganised a person I am and I thought, my gosh, it will be a disaster.

“From there though, it was always in the back of my mind that, if it was possible to do, I would like to do it because I think it is great to have something like that out there one day for your grandchildren … or anybody … to read about you.

“After I had a stroke and then winning the premiership title, Jane asked me again about the book.

“Jane had written educational books before, but she had never done anything like this, but she asked me … if I ever decided to do it to please think about her helping me do it. I said to Jane, I promise you, if I do it … you will be the one.

“We’ve known Jane for a very long time. My wife Nicola has known her for as long as she can remember … and I wanted to do the book with somebody I could share the experience with and know that it meant as much to her as it does to me.

“I could only do something like this with someone I trust implicitly, when it is coming from the heart and being true to what I want say. With Jane, I just knew that nothing would go into the book that didn’t go through me … Jane was not going to add anything or take anything away.
“Jane wrote it … as she said she wanted to do It … as my voice telling my story.

“That’s how it came out and, I must be honest, I got emotional when read it … as I’ve been told a lot of people have.

“People who have read it have told me they have laughed a bit, they cried a bit.

“I don’t think anybody … in fact I’m sure that nobody could have written it the way Jane did.

Q: So, the book is written in your words, saying exactly what you wanted to say but, in saying that, was there any robust discussion along the way between about what stories to include in the book … or, what to leave out?

Lloyd: “Yes there was. The whole thing was a team effort. We worked through things and weighed up Jane’s way of thinking, my way of thinking and Nicola’s way of thinking.
“Between the three of us we did take things out. We may have written it and then thought … no, this doesn’t need to be in there … it might be boring to other people … or, on the other hand, perhaps this should go in.

“So, we were always open to changes as we progressed. Jane also went out of the way to get a feel and a better perspective of what I was telling her about.

“For example, Jane went to South Africa. She went to Greyville racecourse. She went to the academy to see how the system works there and to meet the people first-hand. She got all of the archives out there to make sure our dates were right.

“The fact that she put things together that way … shows her commitment to the accuracy of the book.”

Q: And did you find any hidden gems … things that you had forgotten or things that you didn’t want to remember when you were going through everything?

Lloyd: “My mom always kept all of my newspaper press cuttings from when I was young … so I have cuttings going back to when I was an apprentice … piles and piles of cuttings in piles and piles of boxes. When we got married my mom gave them to Nicola and she has kept them for all of these years.

“We had things that would pop up and bring back good memories … and some sad memories, along with all of my suspensions when I was younger.

“Once we dug into it, I’d be stuck into it for hours, just reading things for myself … some of it was not even going into the book … but there was a lot of reminiscing about how my career came together.

Q: Some people have called the kind of process that you have gone through in basically reviewing your life as a cathartic experience … having to put it in some sort of context. What has it meant to you? Is it just another challenge that you took on, another challenge that you met … or is it more than that?

Lloyd: “I thought I had a good story to tell. The challenge was to get it all right so that when people read it who know me, they will say that is all true. They can have a good laugh about it or whatever.

“That was the challenge but, in the end, it meant more to me just to know that the book is there. Whether it is read now, or whether people are going to read it or not … just thinking about when my kids have their own kids and things like that.

“It is all about getting the story across. People in South Africa, when I was riding there, know that part of the story well, but they know less about my achievements in Australia and vice versa, so now everybody can have access to the full picture if they want it.

“Those who have only seen me at the top will get to see things in a different light as well because of the background stories that are included. The often, little-known impact of the background aspect of a life is a huge part of anybody’s story.

“So, yes, doing the book was a challenge, but I now see it more as another thing that I have an achieved. It is easy to say let’s get a book out, but there is so much involved in doing that, so I’m very proud of what we have done.

“It’s been a very worthwhile undertaking and a very gratifying experience.

“I see it as another string to my bow and from the feedback we have received from readers already, it is very pleasing to know how much people are enjoying the book.”

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Good times ... Lloyd with another Jockey's Premiership trophy
Good times ... Lloyd with another Jockey's Premiership trophy
A great Magic Millions memory ... Lloyd wins the 2017 edition of the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic aboard Houtzen
A great Magic Millions memory ... Lloyd wins the 2017 edition of the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic aboard Houtzen
Team Edmonds celebrates Houtzen's victory

Photos: Racing Queensland (presentation photo) and Graham Potter (racing photos)
Team Edmonds celebrates Houtzen's victory

Photos: Racing Queensland (presentation photo) and Graham Potter (racing photos)
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