Alberto Sanna could not bring himself to watch the win of Ruletheroost when he was off injured in April but believes it would be one of his favourite moments if he was able to win on him at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The jockey has been through a season from hell with a string of serious injuries costing him months on the sidelines, but said the owners of the four-year-old have stuck with him through thick and thin.
Sanna had the option to ride other well-credentialed horses in the Class Three Sweet Orange Handicap (1,800m) but said he would partner Ruletheroost regardless.
“The decision is from my heart because the owner of Ruletheroost has been very kind to me, even through my very tough times,” he said.
“He is always sending me messages, asking me how I am … I have always ridden the horse – I really like him.
“This season has been a disaster for me so I prefer to give my priorities to those who were next to me in the tough times.”
Sanna had ridden the horse in his first eight career starts and piloted him to his first victory at Happy Valley in March before just missing with a second.
The 32-year-old then missed another two months after fracturing his ankle in an innocuous fall while taking a horse to the barriers.
Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s galloper then went on to win again under jockey Umberto Rispoli while stepping up in distance to 1,800m.
Sanna openly admits racing was the last thing on his mind following the injury, with the Italian returning to his homeland for a break before returning to Hong Kong.
During his time off, Sanna did not even check the results or watch the replays, insisting it would only get him down.
While a win on Wednesday night would hardly be the biggest or best of Sanna’s career, it would end a tumultuous season on a high note.
“Even if I have to get down to 117 pounds, I will do my best to get the result because it will be a nice story to finish up the season so well with him,” he said.
Coming off a strong recent barrier trial, Ruletheroost is showing the kind of form that saw him salute earlier this year, giving Sanna hope of an upset against the likes of Tashidelek and True Grit.
“His trial, for me it was very good. He has had a very busy season and is coming to his last run in it,” he said.
“He loves the Valley, unfortunately after my injury I couldn’t ride him in his next win so now he is stepping up in class but I still believe he has a chance.”
Ruletheroost has relished a change from Sha Tin to Happy Valley, running no worse than sixth at the city track.
“When he used to run at Sha Tin he was a little bit tense but at Happy Valley we ride him a bit more quiet and he can hit the line strongly,” Sanna said.
“I think in this race, the tempo will suit us and hopefully I will be able to win with him again, it would make me very happy.”
Sanna will also ride Flying Monkey, Megatron, Shanghai Rusky, C P Power and Sharp Style on the night, which marks the last Happy Valley meeting of the season.