Ben Melham strikes on Lavish Girl in the Angus Armanasco Stakes

Jockey Ben Melham has wasted no time getting back on the winner’s list after a hefty stint on the sidelines through suspension.

Melham was the last of the jockeys to return to race riding after being suspended over his involvement in the infamous Airbnb saga last August.

He made an immediate impact registering a win from his solitary ride at The Valley on Friday night before landing the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday aboard the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace -trained Lavish Girl.

“It’s really good to get good support as it’s a difficult time of year to come back as trainers have got their riders sorted,” Melham said.

Lavish Girl ($16) led throughout to score by 1-¼ lengths from the $2.50 favourite Argentia with Yearning ($11) running home strongly for third, the same margin away.

Maher said it was fantastic to see Melham back in the saddle and winning again.

“He’s a good mate and he’s been doing a lot of work,” Maher said.

“You can see he’s come back fit and that shows.”

After a placing at Listed level last spring before winning at Flemington in December, Maher said plans had been formulated to give the filly a break to concentrate on the early autumn stakes races.

“They’re only three once and she’s a bonny little filly, quite strong,” Maher said.

“She just freshened up, the track is a little bit on-pace today. I had a couple of discussions with John Kelly and he didn’t want to lead, but fortunately she just landed there.

“Ben was quite keen to lead and that was probably the winning move. She travelled sweetly and she has beaten a decent horse into second place.”

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