Jockey Glen Colless' long-awaited comeback from a serious foot injury has been overshadowed by his axing in favour of Damien Oliver for Perth stayer Scenic Shot in the Hollindale Stakes.
Colless has been sidelined since a freakish accident when his mount crashed into the outside fence after breaking down badly at Eagle Farm in February.
Two toes on his left foot were almost severed in the mishap but surgeons managed to save them after inserting pins which were removed a fortnight ago.
Colless won last year's Hollindale Stakes (1800m) on Scenic Shot and made an early return to trackwork last week in the belief he would be riding him at the Gold Coast again next Saturday.
However, Colless was told by trainer Danny Morton the six-year-old's owners had reservations about his fitness following his long lay-off and booked Oliver for the Hollindale Stakes.
"I've started riding trackwork again and my foot has held up better than I expected," Colless said.
"My fitness is good and my weight is steady, around 56 kilos, which is good considering the time I've had off.
"It's disappointing I won't be on Scenic Shot but I can understand the owners' view.
"I started riding trackwork last week because I thought I would be on him (Scenic Shot)."
Following their Hollindale success last winter, Colless rode Scenic Shot when the pair finished fourth to Sarrera in the Group One Doomben Cup (2020m) before winning the Group Two O'Shea Stakes (2400m) at Eagle Farm last May.
They then finished fourth to the Bart Cummings-trained Viewed in the Group Two Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm last June.
The son of Scenic campaigned without success in Melbourne during the autumn before putting in a sterling effort to finish fifth to Niconero in the Group One Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington last month.
Morton then took Scenic Shot home and after a short ease-up the gelding finished a close third at his latest appearance behind Megatic in the Listed Grandstand Cup (1400m) at Ascot on April 18.
"I think he's every bit as good now compared to last winter when he was in Queensland but I don't think he's a genuine Group One horse," Morton said.
"The Group Two races in Queensland seem to suit him better.
"He'll run in the Hollindale Stakes, the Doomben Cup and then the O'Shea and we'll roll the dice if I'm happy with his form and run him in the Brisbane Cup."
Morton said Oliver's engagement for Scenic Shot was only for the Hollindale Stakes and no rider had yet been engaged for the remainder of his winter campaign.
© AAP 2009 Published 26/04/09
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