Injuries have brought a premature end to the 2018 jumps season for top jockey Brad McLean.
McLean, 33, was in Melbourne on Wednesday to seek medical advice on problems related to his injured left shoulder.
“I thought I might have been able to get through this season but it’s just been too sore over the last three to four weeks,” he said. “The wear and tear has just got a bit too much.
The talented horseman, who has Grand National Hurdle and Steeplechase victories to his credit, still has screws in the shoulder from previous operations.
“I reckon I’ll need another operation, which will mean I’ll be out of action for five or six months. With a long rest I’m hopeful of being back for next season.”
The lightly raced jumper Cougar Express, who has been McLean’s key ride in this jumping season, will have a new jockey for his next jumps start in Adelaide.
McLean is a fan of the seven-year-old, who is trained by his brother Jarrod.
McLean, who has won four Galleywood Hurdles and two Brierly Steeplechases at Warrnambool’s May carnival, retains a burning ambition to ride a Grand Annual Steeplechase winner.
“The Grand Annual is the race all jumps jockeys want to win,” he said.
“I want to win one before I retire — believe me, it would give me great satisfaction if I could win an Annual before I hung up my saddle.”
A brace for Bill
Colourful Colac trainer Bill Cerchi took the training honours at the Aspley Cup meeting at Edenhope last Saturday with a double.
Cerchi won with Backstreet Alley ($4.20) in a 1200-metre maiden and Menegatti ($2.50 favourite) in a benchmark 58 over 2000 metres. Both horses were ridden by Warrnambool jockey Declan Bates.
Cerchi predicted a bright career for the lightly raced Backstreet Alley.
“I’ve always had an opinion of Backstreet Alley,” he said. “His form wasn’t too bad. He just needed everything to go right in the run, which it did today.
“I paid $46,000 for him as a yearling. He’s the dearest horse I’ve ever purchased.
“I think he’s about six months away from being a really nice type of horse.”
Cerchi has trained Menegatti for her past 10 starts and she’s earned a cheque in every one.
Overall she’s had 30 starts to five wins, 11 placings and $90,328.
“Her next run might be in Adelaide or we might give her a spell,” Cerchi said.
Tough by name ...
Koroit galloper Tough Vic collected more prizemoney for his connections with a third placing at the Edenhope meeting in the other division of the 2000-metre benchmark 58.
Tough Vic has had six runs for James McNamara for a win, two seconds, a third, a fourth and a sixth.
“He’s just so honest,” McNamara said. “He’s tough.
“The long-term project is to put him over the jumps but while he’s running well on the flat we’ll keep him going.”
Meanwhile, McNamara was pleased with the performance of Hornets’ Nest in a hurdle trial at Warrnambool last Thursday.
“We’ll take him to a hurdle trial at Cranbourne before kicking off his jumps campaign at Casterton (June 30) then running in the Lafferty Hurdle (July 8),” the Koroit milkbar owner said.
“He won both jumping races last year and I think the way he’s going now he should be competitive in both this year.”
From his nine jumps starts, Hornets’ Nest has won three races and ran third on three occasions.