Leading Melbourne jockey Ben Melham will have surgery on both of his hips that will keep him out of the saddle until midway through 2014.
Melham struggled with pain in his hips during the entire 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and was forced to give up his ride on Pelicano in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) on Sunday after the pain became too much for him to bear.
The Group 1 winning jockey visited a specialist yesterday and was given the devastating news that he required a complex surgery, which would rule him out of riding for well over six months and see him miss the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival.
“The doctor told me I will be out until June or July next year,” Melham told TVN.
“He told me I would need surgery as soon as possible.
“The news knocked me around a fair bit.
“He said the left hip is really bad, it is bone on bone and he’s stood me down from riding immediately.”
Melham has been one of the most consistent jockeys in Melbourne in recent years and performed well, despite struggling with the injury, during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
The 25-year-old started the spring with a strong win on Commanding Jewel in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on November 9 and won the Group 3 Telstra Phonewords Stakes (1200m) with Peter Moody-trained Thermal Current at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day before taking out the Antler Luggage Handicap (2000m) with Bel Thor at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
The consistent rider did not get many opportunities at Group 1 level but was awarded the ride on Puissance De Lune in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), after Glen Boss was suspended for careless riding, but the Shamardal entire finished a disappointing 12th and was found to be lame at the end of the race.
Melham first came to prominence when he partnered equine superstar Black Caviar to her maiden Group 1 victory in the 2010 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) and he has since gone on to record four additional wins at the highest level of racing.
He took out the 2011 South Australian Derby (2500m) with Shadows In The Sun and won the same race this year with Escado before completing the Robert Sangster Classic and The Goodwood double with classy mare Platelet.