Jockey Ben Thompson has to re-acquaint himself with getting behind the steering wheel and driving again after returning from Singapore.
Thompson arrived back in Melbourne on Tuesday morning having completed a year-long stint away and was back in the saddle on Wednesday, firstly for track work with Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and then to ride at Sandown.
He had one ride at Echuca on Thursday followed by seven at Moe on Friday, three at Flemington on Saturday and three at Bendigo on Sunday.
It is a big change from race riding two days a week in Singapore, although Thompson was at track work six mornings a week at Kranji.
“Up there I was getting driven around, or jumping on the bus or train home from track work, so I’m sure I’ll be over driving pretty quickly,” Thompson said.
“I’m sure I’ll miss Singapore at times, but I’m looking forward to getting back to work here.”
Thompson says he has seen the impact overseas experience has had on other riders who go through a period of re-establishment when they return.
He says he will work hard, work smart and hopes luck comes his way and he gets back into the swing of Victorian racing.
That hard work means Thompson will ride work at Cranbourne, Pakenham, Caulfield and Flemington while riding freelance.
“My week will continue at Caulfield on Friday morning and then Cranbourne on Saturday before the races,” he said.
“Most of the races this week are close to home which makes it easier, but the important thing is to keep the thing above my shoulders in good shape and not get burn’t out.”
Singapore put Thompson out of his comfort zone which he said in the long term will help his career.
But Thompson felt he let himself down with the finish to his stint, riding 29 winners for the 11-month season.
“At the half-way point I’d ridden 22 winners, but then the second half I unfortunately incurred five suspensions so I missed two-and-a-half months of riding,” he said.
“It was costly as other jockeys get your rides, so I only have myself to blame for careless riding suspensions.
“Riding four black-type winners was beyond my expectations and a great thrill, so hopefully I can build on that back home.
“I made some good contacts up there which may be of benefit in time to come.”