A resilient Alberto Sanna is determined to shake off his recent misfortune and find his way back to the winner’s circle after securing a licence extension from the Jockey Club for the start of next season.
The Italian has had a shocking run of injuries this season – starting with a shattered hip in October and then a broken ankle in March – but he returns to the saddle at Sha Tin on Saturday ready to put that all behind him.
Sanna received an extra boost ahead of his comeback when the Jockey Club confirmed on Thursday he would be contracted until December 31.
“I was very pleased – I knew this season for me has been quite bad because of the injuries,” Sanna told the Post on Friday morning.
“But I don’t want to look back, I just look forward and to get a new opportunity from the Hong Kong Jockey Club is very good.
“I’m quite happy to only have four months, because it makes me more determined to show what I can do and I have no doubt I will do it and stay the whole season.
“What happened to me this season didn’t destroy me, so it will only make me stronger.”
Despite the horrendous run of bad luck that has restricted him to five winners this term, Sanna has kept his sense of humour – “the hip was one side and the ankle was the other so it balances out” – but he took a different approach to his recovery this time around.
After injuring his hip in a cycling accident, the 32-year-old was back riding in less than two months after initially being told he would be out of action for five.
Sanna pushed the limits as he fought to get back, but now admits it was too much, too soon.
So when he fractured his ankle during a race meeting on March 31, he opted to take a more conservative path to ensure he would be back at full health.
“I followed all the doctor’s instructions and did recovery with the Jockey Club physiotherapists so I didn’t rush anything,” Sanna said.
“Last time I rushed to get back earlier and it wasn’t the right idea. But you can only say that in hindsight.
“I’m feeling perfect – I want to show everyone on the track tomorrow. They will see I’m OK.”
Sanna, who rode 17 winners last season after arriving in December, has been back riding trackwork for almost two weeks – “eight to 12 horses a day” – to get his fitness back while also taking part in trials.
He has seven rides on Saturday and is keen to make up for lost time.
“I’ve got a quite a few races with bad draws, but I will do my best,” he said. “I’m happy to be back out there.”