Thumbs up for Oscar Chavez
Panama-born jockey misses about two months after injuring his left thumb
Jockey Oscar Chavez jumps back in the saddle on Saturday - and he's looking at a horse called Trumpy to help bring back that winning feeling.
A freak accident, which happened while he was doing some "DIY" on his fence at home, resulted in him missing out on eight weeks of racing.
That day, Chavez fractured his left thumb and the injury required surgery and the insertion of a steel rod into the thumb. The orthopaedic surgeon suggested a rest of at least two months.
That was in mid-February. For the last two months, the popular Panama-born Singaporean has been, well pardon the pun, sitting quiet and twiddling his thumbs.
Indeed, the injury meant he had to turn down all his engagements from Feb 13 onwards.
It was a shame as he had been building up a handy momentum at his riding comeback from a three-year absence. He had already won three races (In All His Glory, Gold Kingdom and Metal World).
"It was a freak accident. It couldn't have come at a worse moment, my horses were coming to form," said the 46-year-old. "One of my rides, Ricvelo, won that day. Yes, it's been frustrating being at home, especially after I just came back after so long. Now I have to start from scratch.
"My doctor cleared me the week before and I had my first trackwork ride last Monday (March 29)."
Chavez said he was approached for rides at the just-concluded meeting, but he elected to pass them up to allow himself a little more time to work on his fitness levels.
"I wanted to take another week to get fitter. My finger is fine, it doesn't hurt any more," he said. "I kept my book to six rides this week just so I can get back into it without rushing. I think six rides is okay considering I'm a freelance now."
Chavez has singled out Michael Clements' recent stable transfer Trumpy as his best chance, even if he is not making the Argentinian-bred five-year-old a sure thing in the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1,600m on turf.
"Trumpy trialled well last week and he's down in class," he said. "He's done everything we've asked of him in trackwork. I hope he performs well first-up over 1,600m."
Should Chavez win on Trumpy in Race 10, watch out for that thumbs-up.