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By Darren Winningham | Saturday, October 6, 2018

Well it has been fifteen weeks since promising apprentice Sheriden Tomlinson crashed to the turf at trackwork and suffered some horrific injuries that could have ended his career.

When I spoke with him in the hospital back in late June his goal was “to come back bigger and better than I was prior to the injury.” He also wanted to ultimately come back lighter saying, "I was around 52 kilograms when the injury occurred. When I come back I want to be lighter. I want to be around 51 kilograms – that is my motivation now.”

Well this week Sheriden was cleared for light duties by his surgeon and has resumed working in the stables at his boss and supporter Les Ross.

The ultimate irony was that his first duty was to hose, walk and feed the horse that nearly ended his career – Defence Missile – a Love Conquers All three-year-old gelding that has gone on to win three races since he tossed Sheriden off at the track.

Sheriden told me that when he returned to the stables he went straight to the stalls looked into the gelding’s eyes and stared at him to “let him know what he did was wrong”. He says he was not scared about coming back to the stables and being back around horses he has been waiting for this day.

Today at Doomben in Race 7 Sheriden gets to lead Defence Missile out into the parade ring – to strap him and be on hand to see first-hand what he can do on the track with apprentice Clayton Gallagher in the saddle.

WINNO asked him will you give Clayton any riding tips?

“No, he said, – well maybe – just to hold on tight and get him home for the boss. He bloody better win today after everything he has put me through”.

Prior to his setback Sheriden had been riding in sensational form since his debut with a winning double at Norooma in western Queensland on 14 April. He had ridden 10 winners and many placings with an impressive strike rate of 20% in his short period in the saddle.

“I hope to get a clearance to return to track work riding on 15 October and then ride at the track for one month to six weeks to get my fitness back before riding in races.”

His next goal is to get his riding licence upgraded to ride at Country TAB meetings. “You know what WINNO – that may mean that I could be on track to ride at the Cannonball meeting at Kilcoy in early December. I suppose you will be there to help me walk the track and give me some guidance”.

I had to take him aside and remind him of our verbal agreement of that 1970 wannabe porn star moustache that has seemed to have grown back whilst he has been recuperating.

“Well it is okay WINNO – it will be removed when I start riding again – don’t you worry about that”.

Lastly, I had to enquire about his “willy” after he seemed to be concerned about what the surgeons did to him back when he was injured.

“WINNO – that is a private matter. It has been doing fine and getting plenty of attention,” he says this with a beaming smile and an evil expression.

It is wonderful to see him back at the track – determined and positive as ever.

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Sheriden Tomlinson
Sheriden Tomlinson
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