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MELBOURNE Cup-winning horseman Robert Hickmott’s short-lived absence from the training ranks is over.

Hickmott last month cut ties with Lloyd Williams’ Macedon Lodge operation, where he had worked for 12 years.

The former Essendon and Melbourne footballer bowed out in triumphant fashion for Williams, winning the Eclipse Stakes with import The Taj Mahal.

Hickmott returns to metropolitan action on Saturday when he saddles three gallopers from suspended John Sadler’s stable.

Sadler was last week outed until early February after pleading guilty to misconduct during before and during the Eclipse Stakes meeting on November 17, when he repeatedly clashed with stewards.

Hickmott, who has been replaced by assistant trainer Liam Howley at Macedon Lodge, is keen to branch out on his own.

In the short term, he will continue to run Sadler’s team until the veteran trainer returns on February 6.

Hickmott saddled two Melbourne Cup winners for Williams – Green Moon in 2012 and Almandin in 2016.

His runners on Saturday are Thelburg, Le Renarde and Coram.

GUN Kiwi galloper Gingernuts continues to make steady progress from injury.

The Group 1 star has been released from the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital at Werribee for a second time after undergoing surgery on a fractured pastern last month.

Gingernuts injured the leg when cantering to the barriers for the $2 million Emirates Stakes at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

Surgery was successful but, after leaving hospital for the first time, complications set in.

The four-year-old was forced back to Werribee after he registered an elevated temperature, raising fears of a possible infection.

His owner Te Akau Racing confirmed Gingernuts has been cleared to leave hospital again.

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