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Matthew Chadwick returns from lower back injury with one eye on postseason freshen-up

He is back at Happy Valley on Thursday night and eager to add to his 41 wins this season, but Matthew Chadwick admits he has already got one eye on the freshen up that awaits after the 88th and final meeting on July 16.

After jumping off Man Light when the galloper suffered cardiac arrest following the finish of Saturday’s third race, Chadwick missed most of the weekend fixture and Monday night’s meeting because of a lower back injury.

“I’ve been feeling a few tinglings this season, and when I jumped off, it just jarred it a bit more,” said Chadwick, who was sidelined for eight weeks earlier this term with a fractured ankle.

“I inflamed it a bit and I just had trouble flexing and shifting my body weight around. It’s just been about getting the inflammation down in the area so I could be a bit free in my movements.

“I have physio most of the time for maintenance anyway, so I’ve just been having a bit more. They’ve been really good.

“It’s been a long season. I think it just comes down to that. It’s just catching up with us. I think I just need a bit of a freshen-up, and I’ll be sweet.”

First, though, Chadwick eases back into things with three rides at the city circuit on Thursday night before a healthier book at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Chadwick’s first assignment comes aboard last-start winner Circuit Elite, who rises in distance and grade for the Class Four Kowloon Tsai Park Handicap (2,200m).

While gate two and an impost of just 117 pounds will work in the five-year-old grey’s favour, his best work has come over 1,800m and largely in the cellar division.

“Circuit Elite needs to improve in the grade. He’s a last-start winner, but I think he needs to find another couple of lengths. The distance shouldn’t be a problem, though, so we’ll see what happens,” Chadwick said.

Tony Millard’s Above All has been struggling for form and meets Francis Lui Kin-wai’s impressive debut winner, Joyful Hunter, in the first section of the Class Four Victoria Park Handicap (1,200m), while Chadwick gives California Cible a chance in the Class Three Waterfall Bay Park Handicap (1,200m).

Although winless this season, California Cible did lose a race on protest second up and was a one-length second to rising star Nordic Dragon two starts ago before a disappointing ninth on May 24.

“California Cible has been inconsistent, but I think he can improve. It’s an open race, and the horses who have drawn well will have their chances. It will come down to the right run,” Chadwick said of a galloper he pilots from barrier five.

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