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Silvestre de Sousa in for the long haul as he awaits licence extension

With his backlog of suspensions behind him and the momentum of a midweek four-timer carrying him into Sunday’s Sha Tin meeting, Silvestre de Sousa is looking forward to sinking his teeth into the remainder of the 2022-23 season.

The Brazilian reiterated this week that he plans to be in Hong Kong for the remainder of the campaign, and it seems a certainty the Jockey Club’s licensing committee will extend his contract from its expiration date on February 20 through to the final meeting on July 16.

“I’m hoping to extend my licence and be here for the full season. I’ve got a few nice ones that I’m hoping to hang onto going forward,” said De Sousa, who was still buzzing from his second four-win haul of the season at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

“I was very lucky to get a nice book of rides full of chances and to come out and win like I did was a thrill for me and the owners.”

While De Sousa has missed nine meetings across four separate careless riding suspensions this season, he still sits a clear third in the jockeys’ premiership on 29 winners and heads to Sha Tin this weekend with seven chances to close the gap on Vincent Ho Chak-yiu in second.

The 42-year-old has picked up the ride aboard Danny Shum Chap-shing’s Secret Vision for the Class Three Ping Shan Handicap (1,600m), with the five-year-old entering Sunday’s contest off the back of a nice second under James McDonald on last month’s Hong Kong International Races undercard.

“He ran well last time and I just hope he can bring the same form this weekend,” De Sousa said of a galloper who has drawn barrier seven.

De Sousa partners the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Mr Ascendency in the Class Two Yuen Long Handicap (1,400m), a galloper he saluted on over the course and distance in September.

“He’s a horse I’ve won on before and I thought he was going to improve off that, but he had a bit of a setback. Now it looks like he’s ready to hit top form again,” the jockey said.

Looking forward, De Sousa has committed his services to championship-leading trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen for the Classic Mile on January 29 and is hopeful he will be on the handler’s leading hope in Keefy.

On a mark of 100 after two wins and four placings from eight Hong Kong starts, Keefy is likely to enter the first leg of the four-year-old series as the highest-rated galloper.

“I have kept the race open for Frankie Lor and I would say he’ll have a few runners,” De Sousa said. “We’ve been talking and he knows I’d like to be on Keefy. He’s got the highest rating and he’s a nice horse with more to give.”

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