Keith Yeung Ming-lun is delighted to be back in the saddle with three rides at Happy Valley on Tuesday.
Yeung thought his season was over after he fractured his toes when colliding with the rail in a freak accident in April but he returns to race riding ahead of schedule and in great shape.
“I’m feeling really good because I haven’t been off for too long and I got some really good help from the new physiotherapist,” Yeung said. “His name is Chris [Kamper], he has been really helpful during the injury and I’ve had a lot of support from the Jockey Club.
“I didn’t think I was going to be back this season but then because of the help from the physios and the doctor, I was able to come back a lot faster than what I expected.”
When his mount Jumbo Goal was squeezed up late at Happy Valley on April 27, Yeung’s right foot clipped the gap in the rail at the winning post, leaving him with two fractures in his big toe and one in his middle toe.
With 10 winners in the bag, Yeung had already beaten last season’s tally of nine before his spell on the sidelines and he is not one to ruminate on his misfortune.
“It was just bad luck,” Yeung said. “Around the track, there is just one gap [in the rail] and I just rammed my toes into it.
“I’ve been here long enough to overcome things like this. These things just happen and to be honest, I consider myself lucky that it was nothing major – it was just a minor accident and I was able to come back fast.”
Yeung will be hoping to return with a winner and feels that Handsome Veggie provides his best chance in section one of the Class Four Rumsey Handicap (1,200m).
“He’s run some good races and he has never been beaten by too far,” Yeung said. “I’ve been working him in the morning and I was quite happy with his form.
“From barrier four I think I might have a sneaky chance. He always finishes off the race nicely and sometimes when he gets back too far, he makes ground.”
One of Yeung’s other mounts is Hang’s Choice, who returns from a three-month lay-off in section two of the Rumsey Handicap, and the rider feels he is likely to improve for the run.
“He’s been off for quite a while,” Yeung said. “He’s running over 1,200m but I think that’s too short for him and he needs further.”
While most jockeys will be jetting away and getting some much needed rest and relaxation in the off-season, Yeung will be preparing to start a two-year Bachelor of Health Education at the Education University of Hong Kong, which starts in September.
The 34-year-old is excited by the chance to add to his studies after giving up his education early.
“I’m really looking forward to the course,” Yeung said. “One thing about being a jockey is that you start so young and you skip most of your school time.
“I only graduated from grade nine. The proper procedure should have been to finish diploma and then go to university, but I have none of that. I didn’t even keep any of my school records.
“Going back to university is something I wanted to do but I didn’t think was possible, so I think this is a great opportunity for me.”