Melham: I’ve really missed it

Melham: I’ve really missed it

 

It will have been 184 days since Ben Melham has ridden in a race when he dusts off the saddle for his return at The Valley next Friday night.

Sidelined since mid-August last year, the 34-year-old will have his license reinstated next week and is hungrier than ever to make up for lost time missed throughout the spring.

“I am getting back into the swing of things and have been at trackwork four or five mornings a week for the past seven or eight weeks,” the 17-time Group 1 winning jockey told Racing.com.

“I went to Byron Bay for a month and enjoyed the warm weather and it was good to get away.

 

 

“But this time though I’ve really missed it, I am really enjoying springing out of bed in the mornings.

“The last twelve months has been a bit of a write off, but its head down bum up trying to get to as many meetings as I can and ride as many winners as I can.

“I’ve got a desire to get back and make a real impact.

“I’ve really missed it and it’s made me realise how lucky we are to work and earn.

“Sitting on the sidelines gives you that spark and desire to return and make up for lost time.”

 

Determined to return at the top of his game, Melham has been on a stringent fitness regime in recent weeks ahead of his return.

“I train every day, walk, run, boxing and live close to the beach so swim a kilomtre in the bay most days,” Melham explained.

“I’ll probably start 57 kilograms during the week and 56 kilograms on a Saturday.

“The weight is still coming down, I did get to 65 kilograms at one point and that was the motivation to start studying what foods I should eat.

“I have really enjoyed that and found it interesting to look into, I like to cook and just finding the best way to maintain weight.

 

“I am down to 58 or 57.5 kilograms at the moment and I’ll try not have to get in the sauna.”

With Melham’s second meeting back set to be next Saturday’s Blue Diamond Stakes Day, while he is yet to align himself with any headline acts, he is hopeful riding trackwork for the likes of Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and Matt Laurie pays off in the coming weeks.

“It’s not uncommon for me, I’ve started a lot of carnivals without decent horses and picked them up as I’ve gone a long,” he said.

“Coming back in the Autumn means a lot of trainers have made long range commitments with horses.

“I don’t expect to come back on the second day and have two or three Group 1 rides.

 

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“At trackwork you are hoping to find that young promising horse or unexposed one and hopefully you are in the right spot at the right time.”

Melham will make his return at The Valley on Friday night where he is set to partner Matt Laurie’s promising colt Mornington Glory.

“I have a couple of rides at The Valley on Friday night lined up,” he said.

“Mornington Glory is a horse I’ve had a fair bit to do with but haven’t had the opportunity to ride him on raceday so hopefully we can kick-off with a winner, that would be lovely.

“I am in a really good place mentally and physically.

“If I front up and do the work hopefully I can make the most of the opportunities.”

Melham has ridden Mornington Glory to two impressive trial wins this preparation, most recently at Balnarring on Wednesday.