Star jockey Silvestre de Sousa says he feels “normal” in the saddle again after a shocking fall at Chelmsford racecourse in August left him with serious injuries.
The Brazilian jockey, who has returned to Hong Kong on a three-month licence, ripped ligaments in his knee, damaged his lower back and broke his collarbone in a tumble which put him out of racing for a month.
De Sousa was taken to hospital after being squeezed off his horse Alnadir by a rival jockey, costing him a stack of rides for his retained stable King Power Racing.
“It was a nasty fall, I tore the ligaments off my knee and two vertebrae in my lower back were chipped along with damage to my neck and shoulder,” De Sousa said.
“It was a nasty fall but I feel like I have fully recovered. I have done plenty of physio, the facilities are very good.
“It feels normal being back on the horse which is one of the main things, I feel 100 per cent to ride.
“It was one of those things that happens in racing, we will get on with it.”
De Sousa was one of the major success stories in Hong Kong racing last season, booting home 44 winners in his short-term stint at a 15 per cent winning strike rate, and he has put the writing on the wall again for this season.
There was a nasty fall for champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa at Chelmsford a little earlier - we hope he's not out of action for too long pic.twitter.com/G0OAoZoagc— Racing TV (@RacingTV) August 23, 2019
Returning on Sunday with a full book of 10 rides, it was evident Hong Kong trainers and owners had not forgotten his feats which saw him sit behind only Zac Purton and Joao Moreira in terms of strike rate.
He will ride six horses on Wednesday night at Happy Valley for the likes of Tony Cruz, John Moore, Paul O’Sullivan and Me Tsui Yu-sak.
“I have six [rides] and I hope to be busy there again the week after as I miss Saturday’s meeting because I am racing in Bahrain on Friday, but I will be back,” he said.
“I think they have chances on Wednesday night but they all come down to the draw at Happy Valley, if you have a good draw, you have half a chance, if you have a bad draw, you have to ride a race and make it a chance.”
With his ability to ride light, De Sousa is again set to be a hit in Hong Kong.
While many jockeys wait weeks to land their first winner, De Sousa did it with just his fifth ride back on Gift Of Lifeline on Sunday.
“It’s nice to open the account with a win on the first day. It puts you back on the map again and you’re in the swing of things again, so it was a great start,” he said.
“It’s like I never left. It is the nature of this place – the trainers still believe in me, they believe I can do something.
“I thought I would have less rides, but I have been always in touch with everyone and they chucked me a few, they all ran well too.”
De Sousa’s best chance comes in the Class Two Hydrangea Handicap (1,000m) on the John Moore-trained Sunny Boy.
After missing races due to a cancelled Happy Valley meeting and a lame leg, the five-year-old will get his chance to roll along in front from barrier three.