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Tegan Harrison is ready to make a splash

By Andrew Adermann

Tegan-Harrison-3-1.JPGAfter nearly eight months out of the saddle, former leading apprentice Tegan Harrison will return to the track on Friday night at the Sunshine Coast.

In October, the 31-year-old suffered a nasty fall aboard the Stuart Kendrick-trained Nineonone, resulting in fractures to vertebrae, two ribs and her sternum.

Harrison was one of four dislodged jockeys involved in the incident, which also resulted in a re-injured collarbone from two years prior.

Despite the fall, the Gold Coast-based jockey was not once deterred from returning to the saddle in a bid to ride competitively again.

“From the first day of being injured, I was adamant on returning and the thing that frustrated me the most was not being able to get back on a horse right away,” Harrison said.

“The day that I finally was able to do so at home, which was very light work, it made me feel very content about returning.”

It’s been a long road to recovery for Harrison, who has been regularly riding trackwork over the past month, and this Friday night makes a long-awaited return with two rides at Corbould Park.

Her return ride will come atop of the Tony and Maddy Sears-trained two-year-old filly Little Miss Pixie in the third event of the evening, a 2YO maiden over 1200 metres.

She saddles up once more in race 6, a Benchmark 58 over 1200 metres aboard the Trevor Miller-trained Combat Kid.

“Because I’d had a long time off it definitely felt new, it wasn’t like I had to learn to ride again but it was just getting that exciting feeling back that was amazing,” Harrison said.

“I try not to attach to much to it but I’m just excited to be back and excited to be so far along in my recovery that I can continue doing what I love.

“Tomorrow is just about getting back to the sport that I love; a winner would be awesome but it’s just getting back to doing what I do and having a good time – I just want to do my job.”

I want to reach new heights with my riding and set myself some big goals for next season, it’s given me a wake-up call to work really hard and try to achieve the opportunities you need to be really successful.

Come Saturday, Stuart Kendrick will be aiming to give Harrison a welcome return to the weekend circuit, her only ride for the day aboard Tarzan in the Listed Hinkler Handicap.

Harrison knows the horse well having steered him to victory in October 2017, and is now more thankful than ever to be given another opportunity to ride the seven-year-old gelding.

“I think it’s a real feelgood thing for me that Stuart has put me on this horse on Saturday – it was one of his horses that I fell on which is obviously no fault of his – but it’s really nice to know that he’s there to support me on my return,” Harrison said.

Tegan is no stranger to success on the track, currently holding the record for most Brisbane metropolitan winners in a season by a female jockey with 51 – set in 2015/16.

At the conclusion of the 2013/14 season, she notched up her second successive apprentice title, and has claimed four Group victories – most notably the 2014 Group 2 Victory Stakes aboard Spirit Of Boom.

Harrison returns to the competitive circuit this week more determined than ever to forge a successful career, crediting the injury lay-off for allowing her to re-discover the passion for riding.

“The injury has done strange things to me, it’s given me a new lease of motivation and a bit of a kick up the butt,” Harrison said.

“I want to reach new heights with my riding and set myself some big goals for next season, it’s given me a wake-up call to work really hard and try to achieve the opportunities you need to be really successful.

“I feel like I went through a phase with my riding where I got a bit lazy and just plateaued, just racing and not really trying to achieve anymore.

“Whereas when I was at my most successful, I always had goals set and I was out to achieve them – and I’m feeling that way again.

“I am out to overachieve a little bit and see where it takes me, while also bearing in mind that I have to be patient and it won’t come straight away.”