Michael Walker has endured a lot of pain over the years to make it to the top in racing.
He chases a second-straight Australian Cup win on Saturday after recent surgery for a hip injury.
Spillway provided Walker with an overdue Australian Group One win last year and he will ride Almoonqith in the 2000m weight-for-age race at Flemington.
And Walker would love nothing more than to win it for owner, Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud.
“I’ve ridden a lot of winners for him over the years and I would really like to ride a big one for him,” Walker said.
Walker returned to race riding last weekend after four months on the sidelines.
He guided Raghu into third place in the New Zealand Derby at his first ride back.
Now pain-free, Walker continues to work on his fitness and muscle tone.
“I’ve just got to get rid of the muscle tightening and the scar tissue which I’m doing through acupuncture, physio and gym work,” he said.
At his last ride before surgery, Walker won the 3200m Sandown Cup on Almoonqith in November and will follow the stayer to Sydney when he runs in The BMW and the Sydney Cup.
The jockey thought Almoonqith’s first-up effort suggests he’s on target for those races.
“He’s drawn a good enough barrier and I would say he should be able to be a little bit closer in the run,” Walker said.
“I think you’ll be surprised at how well he runs.
“I’m very fortunate to be back on him and I’m looking forward to getting back out there in the big smoke.”
Walker will be riding a lot for the Lindsay Park team of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig in coming weeks.
He rides Tashbeeh in the Albury Cup on Friday week and the following day will be reunited with Criterion, the horse he rode to placings in the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup last spring, in the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill.
“They’re a brilliant stable and I’m very fortunate after being off for so long to come back and get a go again,” he said.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au