Dig­ger un­earths keener out­look

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT -

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.”

Pic­ture: RICHARD GOSLING

Come­back jockey Dar­ryl McLellan has a book of five rides to­day.

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