Allen eyes rich reward after shaking fever
BEN Allen has defied the odds, and the doctors, to be riding this spring.
A Caulfield Cup mount awaits the star apprentice on Saturday, the ride on Darren Weir's Night's Watch the ultimate reward after a gruelling few months.
Allen, 19, was taken to hospital after a fall at the Valley in August. He also presented with a rash on his arms and tests turned up something unexpected. Allen had glandular fever, which results in extreme fatigue, fever and aches.
In all, not ideal for a young jockey working long hours trying to make his way.
"I was still riding winners, but was feeling really weak and everyday normal stuff (was hard)," Allen said.
"I was feeling weak and tired and had a loss of appetite, but it was harder to lose weight because I was so tired and you need to be able to have your heart pumping and be able to exercise. I was crook enough that I forgot what it felt like to ride feeling good."
His GP told him he would not feature in the famous Melbourne carnival.
"My mum (Sam) said, 'Can we get another blood test'. They said there was no point," he said.
"But Mum pushed it and we got that done and within a week everything was back to normal. The doctor said that it was impossible that my liver and spleen would come down (in levels). I was lucky enough that it was probably towards the end."
Allen is hoping his recovery after the spring seemed off the agenda could mean something special is in store.
"Big thanks to mum. Mum looks after me and does so much for me and if it wasn't for her, I might still be sitting in bed. We would have missed a few winners, definitely."
The ride in the $5 million Caulfield Cup is Allen's second in the race, having made his debut last year on Lord Fandango.
This week hasn't just involved keeping himself primed for Saturday's book of six rides at the Heath.
He's been sourcing tickets for his mates to see him ride in the cup, then a few for himself for next week as Winx prepares her tilt at Cox Plate history at the Valley.
"I've always been suspended for Cox Plate, so I've never actually gotten to ride on the day," he said. "I always enjoy the day out and it will be good to go there and watch a bit of history."