A win in the Group 1 $500,000 The Tapestry Wines Goodwood (1200m) on Smokin’ Joey would be a dream result for jockey Ben Melham who is resuming from an enforced six months layoff at Morphettville on Saturday.
Melham hasn’t ridden since November 16 last year and has been on the sidelines following a hip operation and said that he is very excited to be able to get back to riding again.
“It’s the longest time I’ve been away from riding in 11 years. I’ve really missed it and can’t wait to get back,” Melham told TVN.
Melham had to pull up stumps at the end of last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival because of a problem with his hip which required surgery.
After a rest and intense physiotherapy and fitness training, Melham is set to return to his happy hunting ground at Morphettville where he rode three Group 1 winners at last year’s Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival.
Melham stole the show twelve months ago with wins on the Darren Weir trained Platelet in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Classic (Registered as Robert Sangster Stakes) (1200m) and in the Group 1 $500,000 The Distinctive Homes Goodwood (1200m).
And he also took out the Group 1 $500,000 Centrebet South Australian Derby (2500m) on the Matt Laurie trained Escado.
Melham will be on $21 outsider Smokin’ Joey who is struggling to find the form that saw him run second to Boban in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in the Spring.
Smokin’ Joey’s best run from four starts this campaign was a third two starts back to Spacecraft in a 1400m Handicap at Flemington on April 5.
And last start Smokin’ Joey, along with the rest of the field, didn’t see which way Sistine Demon went when the speedy Excites four year old raced away to record a six lengths winning margin in the Group 3 $150,000 Race-Tech Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield on April 19.
Smokin’ Joey finished sixth, just over seven lengths from the winner and has a lot of ground to make up on Saturday.
Sistine Demon and the Gai Waterhouse trained Driefontein share favouritism at $7 with Ladbrokes.com.au for the Goodwood just ahead of local filly Miracles Of Life and last year’s Goodwood winner Platelet at $7.50.
The John O’Shea trained Sessions and Gregers from the David Hayes stable are next in the betting at $10 while Unpretentious is a $12 chance alongside of last start Group 3 D C McKay Stakes winner Essay Raider.
Melham’s other rides for the day are Escado in the Listed $100,000 Mittys Port Adelaide Cup (2500m) and Detox in the Listed $100,000 Mac Just Over? Don’t Drive Centaurea Stakes (2006m).