Digger unearths keener outlook
McLellan said. “It was really challenging. It was really hard because you go from doing something all your life then all of a sudden you can’t do it anymore.”
McLellan credited mentor Jamie Watts for his ability to return to the saddle.
“I’ve been friends with him for a long time and he pushed me right through all the training after the shoulder settled down,” he said.
“I was supposed to have (movement) restrictions and I ended up having none at all.
“He is the reason that I’m back racing.”
McLellan was one of the best lightweight jockeys in NSW, riding more than 1000 winners including the 2002 Sydney Cup on Henderson Bay. He also rode with success in Macau.
Now 51.5kg, he said it would take time but he was convinced he could get back to that form and believed he could ride for another decade.
“I definitely think I can get back to my best with some opportunity because I have never worked this hard before,” McLellan said.
“I was always naturally light and I was always in a spot where I got rides without trying hard so I never did my best.
“Weight is not an issue and my fitness is coming back quick. If I can stay healthy I’m going to ride for another 10 years easy.
“I’ll probably stay at the Gold Coast for a while until I really get comfortable. I want to take this as far as I can.”
McLellan regularly rode for Edmonds when both were in the early stages of their respective careers in NSW and he thanked the trainer for giving him the opportunity to produce his second coming.
“When Toby first started training he trained at Scone and I was an apprentice there," McLellan said.
“I rode for Toby from day one and I really appreciate him giving me an opportunity to ride for him up here.”
Comeback jockey Darryl McLellan has a book of five rides today.