Alberto Sanna gets a golden opportunity to impress champion trainer John Size when he partners debutant Red Warrior at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Size is the trainer most affected by Joao Moreira’s move to Japan after the duo combined for 52 winners from 193 rides last season.
But the Magic Man’s departure opens up opportunities with Hong Kong’s leading stable and punters were keen to see who would be granted the prized rides.
Size saddles up his first two runners of the season at the city track and while it is no shock to see Zac Purton (Country Star) land one, Sanna was somewhat of a surprise selection given he has never ridden for the trainer before.
The two horses would likely have been partnered by Moreira if he was still in Hong Kong – he trialled both of them last season – but it is no surprise to see the trainer spread the load early as he gets a feel for his options.
Sanna was delighted when he received a text from Size asking if he wanted the ride.
“I’m very grateful, every jockey over here would like to ride for Mr Size,” the Italian said.
“Trainers like Mr Size, you don’t have to push them to ask for a ride, because he knows you are here and if he wants you, he knows how to find you.
“Last stint in six months I didn’t get any rides for Mr Size but fortunately he asked me this time.
“To ride for big trainers like this is a pleasure, so hopefully I will give him a nice ride and hopefully he can give me some more chances during the season.”
Red Warrior is an Irish-bred three-year-old who won three of his four starts in England – all over a mile on the Polytrack – before arriving at Sha Tin in March.
Size has been typically patient with the gelding, giving him five trials to prepare him for his assignment in the Class Three Chung Hom Kok Handicap (1,200m).
Red Warrior has drawn awkwardly in barrier 10, but Sanna confirmed he will be following whatever instructions he receives from the trainer and owners and will be trying his best.
That is one of five rides for Sanna at the Valley, alongside Clement Legend, The Champ, King’s Man and Lucky Girl.
After arriving in December, the jockey knows the level of work and commitment required in Hong Kong so he is leaving no stone unturned to build on his 17 winners from last term.
“I have been running every day to prepare myself well for the rest of the season – I like training hard,” Sanna said.
“I will ride all season between 116 and 118 pounds – I’m quite tall so I have to work hard on my weight, but while I’m here I need to compete with the others. But I can’t compromise on my power, I’m quite strong and I always like to push them to the end.
“For me, it is important to even finish fifth, I’m a hungry jockey.”
Meanwhile, Jockey Club stewards have altered Callan Murray’s dates of suspension, acceding to a request from the South African after he neglected to advise them of a race riding engagement at Sha Tin on September 16.
Murray, who was outed for careless riding on Sunday, will now miss the cards on September 22 and 27.