El-Issa completes remarkable comeback with Sydney win Thu, 12 Jan 2017

Matt Coughlan
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Bobby El-Issa defied death to beat cancer and has now held out his rivals on the racetrack to record his first city winner since making a remarkable comeback.

El-Issa returned to the saddle in April after a battle with leukaemia to ride a winner on his first day back. While city success has been more elusive, he broke the drought at Canterbury yesterday aboard the Les Bridge-trained Eastern Legend.

"Is this the right stall? Haven't been here for a while," El-Issa said as he took Eastern Legend into the winner's stall.

Eastern Legend took out the Hyland Race Colours Handicap, swooping home late to beat Got Unders by a half-neck with No Bad Blood a half-head away third.

"It felt good riding one for Les Bridge," El-Issa said. "The last winner I rode in town for him was about 12 or 13 years ago.

"It was a big win for me. I just wanted to come back and ride winners in town. I feel I'm as good as any of them, I just need the horsepower."

Bridge rates Eastern Legend's prospects but is not getting carried away by settling the bar too high.

"They're only as good as their next win you know?" Bridge said.

He said the highly strung four-year-old had been a difficult horse to handle.

"We bought him as a stayer but he can sprint a bit," Bridge said.