Melham Returns to Racing Following Enforced Lay-Off

After having to undergo surgery on an abscess that developed from a saddle sore, Group One winning jockey Ben Melham was forced to the sidelines for one month.

Ben Melham is keen to get back in Dissident's saddle for the autumn.

Ben Melham is keen to get back in Dissident’s saddle for the autumn. Photo by Race Horse Photos Australia.

He made his return with the first of two rides at Sandown Racecourse on Wednesday, finishing fifth in the Doriemus Plate (1400m) aboard Hefner. Later in the afternoon, he’ll saddle Robbie Griffith’s Zadon in a Benchmark 64 over 1400 metres.

“I have had a decent lay-off so I’m pretty fresh and keen to get back into it,” Melham told Sky Racing earlier in the week.

“I’m hungry to get back riding and riding winners.

“I was able to keep pretty fit though because I was still able to be active and I kept up my training.

“It shouldn’t take me too long to get back in the swing of things.”

Melham saddled Dissident in all four of the horse’s spring starts, winning both the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), and is keen to reprise his ride on the winning horse come the autumn.

“From all reports he’s going really well and I’d like to think he’ll be competitive in the early Group Ones in the autumn,” the hoop said.

“He’s a top-class galloper. I’m excited to get back aboard him and thankful to Pete and the connections for keeping me on him.”

After winning the Memsie Stakes and Makybe Diva Stakes, Dissident was a fast finishing runner-up in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m). He then finished midfield in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11 where his season was cut short after he bled for the first time and subsequently banned for three months.

The 2015 autumn carnival looks to be Dissident’s final season before he’s retired to stud. Trainer Peter Moody has revealed he could kick-off his campaign in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) on the Australia Day long weekend later this month.

Before then of course, Melham must focus on Sandown. Zadon is a $6.50 hopeful at to win the Benchmark 64 at 5:40pm (AEDT).

“I have a good opinion of Zadon and think he has quite nice staying ability,” Melham said.

“I think he looks ideally placed first-up and hopefully he can run well.”

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