Darryl McLellan back in winners’ circle after track fall setback

COMEBACK: Darryl McLellan at Newcastle Racecourse in November during his recovery from hip replacement surgery. Picture: Jonathan CarrollGroup 1-winning Newcastle jockey Darryl “Digger” McLellan is aiming to build his fitness after a successful but delayed second comeback on the weekend.

McLellan, 47, rode Givem Hell to victory for former Scone trainer Toby Edmonds in the first at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

It was the now Queensland-based hoop’sfirst race ride since November 4 last year, after which he returned to Newcastle to have hip replacement surgery.

McLellan hadreturned to racing in August, after almost six years on the sidelines, and startedwith eight winners in 49 rides. A shoulder injury and surgeriesfrom a race fall onBoxing Day2011 at Newcastle had derailed his career.

Before his 2011 fall, McLellanrode more than 1000 winners, including group 1s on Magic Of Money in the 1995 The Galaxy and the 2002 Sydney Cup on Henderson Bay.He also took Lonhro to victory in the 2001Warwick Stakes.

The popular jockey was glad to finally return tothe races after a frightening track work accident in his first week back on the job postponed his comeback.

“It’s fine,” McLellan said of his hip.

“It was good, getting a winin my first ride back, so it was brilliant.

“I got put back a bit because I had a track work incident and it put meback three or four weeks.

“A horse flipped over on me and landed right on that hip. I couldn’t believe it.

“I s–t myself.I thought, ‘No, this can’t be happening’, but it’s all right.I tore the groin muscle and the hip flexor a bit.”

He had four rides last Saturday and was focused now on getting back into shape. McLellan was down to 51.5 kilograms before his hip surgery.

“When the horse landed on me, it put my fitness program back a bit as well,” he said.

“I’m 55 kilos and I need to get my weight down and get a bit more fitness. I did kind of struggle a bit there on Saturday.”

McLellan moved to the Gold Coast to revive his career after being denied a jockey’s licence by Racing NSW.

AAP reports: Jockey Kerrin McEvoy has been cleared to ride after recovering from a broken hand.

McEvoy needed surgery on his right hand after breaking his third metacarpal in a pre-race incident at Randwick on December 16.

He was taking Sugar Bella, trained at Newcastle by Kris Lees, to the barriers when she made a sudden sideways move and he twisted his fingers.

McEvoy was given the all-clear on Monday and hopes to be back riding competitively on Friday.

“Got the all clear from the doctor re. the injured hand so looking fwd to doing a few gallops in the morning, possibly races Friday at Canterbury” McEvoy tweeted.

He is the regular rider of Redzel whichis set to have his first start for 2018 in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington on February 17, ruling McEvoy out of the ride on Winx in Sydney if Hugh Bowman fails to have a careless riding ban reduced.

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