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There was no fairy-tale comeback last night for Gary Stevens who failed to land a winner on his return from retirement at Santa Anita in California.

But the American, who acted as Sir Michael Stoute`s stable jockey in Britain in 1999, reached a place three times from his four mounts _ his first since knee problems caused him to quit the saddle last December.

The closest he came to victory was on Bully`s North, who was caught close home in a two-year-old maiden and had to settle for second place.

Afterwards Stevens told the Bloodhorse: 'It felt great riding again.

'My knees definitely feel a lot better than they did last December 26th. I`m sure of one thing, I`m going to sleep well tonight.'

Stevens had been out of action since Boxing Day last year, with the most recent of his 4,000-plus career winners coming a month previously.