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Group One-winning jockey Ben Melham is ready for his return from an enforced lay-off and keen to start building momentum with feature races just around the corner.

Melham has not ridden for a month after surgery on an abscess which developed from a saddle sore and required time to heal.

He makes his return with two rides at Sandown on Wednesday.

“I have had a decent lay-off so I’m pretty fresh and keen to get back into it,” Melham said.

“I’m hungry to get back riding and riding winners.”

Melham returned to trackwork last week.

“I was able to keep pretty fit though because I was still able to be active and I kept up my training,” he said.

“It shouldn’t take me too long to get back in the swing of things.”

Melham won two Group One races on the Peter Moody-trained Dissident during last year’s spring carnival and said he was looking forward to riding him again.

Dissident won the Memsie Stakes and Makybe Diva Stakes early last spring before his preparation ended prematurely when he bled and incurred a three month ban in the Caulfield Stakes.

“From all reports he’s going really well and I’d like to think he’ll be competitive in the early Group Ones in the autumn,” Melham said.

“He’s a top-class galloper. I’m excited to get back aboard him and thankful to Pete and the connections for keeping me on him.”

Dissident is expected to have a jump-out at Sandown on Tuesday.

Moody has said the CF Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes look logical Group One targets for Dissident during the horse’s final season before he is retired to stud.

Melham’s two rides in his return at the Sandown midweek meeting are Hefner for trainer Jason Warren and the Robbie Griffiths-trained Zadon who resumes in a 1400m benchmark race.

“I have a good opinion of Zadon and think he has quite nice staying ability,” Melham said.

“I think he looks ideally placed first-up and hopefully he can run well.”

 
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