Former champion jockey Shane Dye could make a much-awaited return to the winner's circle at Pukekura Raceway this afternoon.
One of the most colourful riders of the last 30 years and once known as the ''Golden Boy,'' Dye, now aged 46, is on the comeback trail after ''retiring'' from the saddle almost three years ago.
Since resuming his career, Dye has had two rides without success. But Dye can look forward to better luck today.
He has two rides at Taranaki Thoroughbred Racing's twilight meeting and both are good chances.
He will be riding Peter and and Phillip Vela's Goyescas in race five.
Trained by Jason Bridgman, the four-year-old Encosta De Lago mare was an impressive trials winner at Te Awamutu before looking an early improver at Matamata.
Dye's other mount today is another Vela galloper, Navy Beach, in race eight.
Navy Beach was desperately unlucky when a fifth of nine runners in a rating 65 1600 at Tauranga on November 2 in his second run back from a layoff.
Dye started his riding career in the 1980s, apprenticed to Dave O'Sullivan at Matamata. He soon made his mark on the industry, becoming champion apprentice.
Dye moved to Sydney where he also reached the top of his profession with premierships in 1990-91 and 1996-97.
He was also the first jockey to ride 100 winners in a Sydney metropolitan season. He won the 1989 Melbourne Cup on Tawriffic and counts four consecutive Golden Slipper Stakes amongst his tally of 93 Group I wins.
In the late 1990s Dye moved to Hong Kong becoming one of the top riders there before he suffered serious head injuries in a serious racefall in mid-2006.
Against all predictions Dye was back in the saddle within three months. But after failing to recapture his former good form he returned to Sydney.
Wins proved hard to come by and Dye moved to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius and then Macau. Dye is now back ''home'' back and hungry for more winners.
The last winner he rode was the Mark Walker-trained Volkarrie in a rating 90 race at Rotorua in February 2010.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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