Jay Ford wasn’t keen to sit around and watch the autumn carnival go ahead without him.
But the jockey, who was sidelined for five months following a shoulder reconstruction, admitted watching some of the feature action fuelled his desire to return with bang.
Ford ramps up his comeback at Hawkesbury on Saturday with chances in the three feature races.
He will partner unbeaten filly Lucha Libre in the Listed Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m), last year’s winner Snow Alert in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m) and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Devils Arcade in the Listed Darley Crown (1300m).
“It was pretty difficult not being part of the autumn carnival,” Ford, who returned to race riding last week, said.
“I tried not to just sit around and be glued in front of the TV watching it because that would have made it even more difficult.
“But watching some of the good races only made me work harder with my physio and at the gym to get back as soon as I could. It made me hungry to get back riding again.”
Ford, regular rider of champion Takeover Target during his illustrious career, was injured in a barrier trial incident in late November and underwent surgery on his shoulder in early December.
“All up it took about five months to get back,” he said.
“After being on the sidelines for so long it’s definitely good to be back in the saddle, I’ve ridden a couple of winners already, and it’s good to secure a nice book of rides so soon.”
The Anthony Cummings-trained Lucha Libre heads into the Guineas on the back of her narrow last-start win in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400) at Randwick on a heavy track.
Neeson finished second in the South Pacific Classic last year before a dominant Hawkesbury Guineas win, while Royal Discretion won the South Pacific-Hawkesbury Guineas double in 2008.
“She’s a very nice horse with a lot of potential and she’s still on an upward spiral,” Ford said of Lucha Libre.
“In both starts she has been impressive, but she is still learning and still doing a few things wrong.
“She has drawn a beautiful gate (three) and I should be able to give her every chance tomorrow.”
Devils Arcade, winner of five of her nine starts, resumes since her midfield finish as one of the favourites in the Listed Gosford Cup (2100m) on November 18.
The four-year-old was a heavy track winner at Warwick Farm last preparation and has won two barrier trials ahead of her Hawkesbury return.
“It’s a great ride to pick up for Gai, the horse has shown plenty of promise and her trials leading into tomorrow have been nothing short of outstanding,” Ford said.
Ford was set to partner Brilliant Light in the Rowley Mile but picked up the ride on Snow Alert when trainer Kerry Parker decided against running Brilliant Light.