Murphy is ready, willing but still waiting
BY TIM O'CONNOR
14/10/2009 11:16:00 PM
BALLARAT jockey Sebastian Murphy will make his long-awaited return to the saddle this weekend.
A former leading Victorian apprentice, Murphy will step out for his first race ride since August 17 last year, which is likely to be at Sunday's Horsham meeting.
But the 19-year-old could return as early as Saturday if a ride comes his way.
"At the moment I don't (have any rides). It doesn't look like there is going to be much for me there (at Bendigo)," Murphy said.
"That'd be all right (to resume at Bendigo), (but) it's not the end of the world if there's nothing there."
The 19-year-old has been away from official race duties for the past 14 months, citing exhaustion and a bulging disc in his back for the lengthy lay-off. The injury was triggered by a race fall on a horse called Grease Monkey,
and then the chilly Ballarat winter proved a barrier to weight loss.
But about three months after beginning full training, Murphy, a two-time leading Melbourne metropolitan apprentice, has his weight down from a high of 67kg and will resume riding at 58kg this weekend.
"I had a few setbacks with my back; that sort of took a bit longer than what it would have taken," he said.
"That's come good now, it's not worrying me at all.
"I've struggled with my weight all the way through, but previously I was able to manage it."
Murphy said the time away from racing couldn't have come at a worse time, with the youngster piloting Michael Moroney-trained Mr Baritone to his maiden group one victory in the 2008 Stradbroke Handicap, and with a number of promising spring carnival rides in the pipeline.
Murphy said he had been doing track work, mainly for Ballarat trainers Darren Weir and Damien Hunter, since November last year, but was not sure whether he would get down to his previous riding weight of 53kg.
Murphy has been booked to ride one horse on Sunday and a further two at Monday's Warrnambool meeting.