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Silvestre de Sousa returns from suspension at Sha Tin: ‘it’s felt like six weeks’

Silvestre de Sousa says it feels like he has been out of the saddle for an eternity ahead of his return to the coalface at Sha Tin on Sunday.

After missing two meetings through suspension, the Brazilian’s absence was extended by the weather-induced cancellation of Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting.

“It’s felt like it’s been six weeks, not three meetings,” De Sousa said. “It’s so long when you’re out of the saddle.

“You miss the beat. Over here, you’re only as good as your last ride and your last meeting. This week, I’m pretty busy, so hopefully I can get one or two winners on the board and start things moving again.”

De Sousa heads to Sha Tin this weekend armed with eight rides and he hopes four-year-old Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained galloper Keefy is one horse worth sticking with.

Keefy lines up in the Class Two Neogence Handicap (1,600m), stepping up to a mile after his last-start fourth from the widest alley over seven furlongs.

“Keefy ran a good race last start. Obviously, he’s been very unlucky with the gates he’s been getting, but I’m very confident the horse has come out of the race well, and he should improve from the last race,” De Sousa said about his charge, who jumps from gate three on Sunday afternoon.

“He’s been so unlucky. You’d think the way he ran last time from the bad gate, this time it could be different.

“He feels good, he’s a very enthusiastic horse and he pleases you in the morning. He’s a very straightforward horse. He’s done everything professionally, and I look forward to it.”

Keefy, who takes on the likes of Galaxy Witness, Sight Spirit and Beautyverse, will plot a course towards the Classic Series. De Sousa hopes Keefy is capable of stepping out further in trip in time.

“I think he’s a horse who’s improving, and hopefully, he can get a bit further,” the jockey said.

De Sousa has seven winners so far this season, with the 41-year-old sitting sixth in the premiership after 15 meetings.

He climbs aboard another Lor-trained galloper, Money Catcher, for the first time in the afternoon’s feature, the Group Three Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1,800m).

A winner of one race from eight starts in New Zealand pre-import, Money Catcher has failed to salute in 12 Hong Kong outings, but he has placed on eight occasions, including in the Classic Cup and Hong Kong Derby earlier this year.

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