By Hans Ebert

After reading yet another piece on the resurgence of The Man From Sardinia- the hard working and highly likeable Italian jockey Alberto Sanna- it wasn’t difficult to think of a movie based on his past two years: Sanna: The Movie.

There’s something Ramboesque to the plot where a good rider comes to Hong Kong and last year comes up against all manner of obstacles- injuries like shattering his hip in a bicycle accident during his rigorous fitness regime, suspensions, another injury, another suspension, wondering what the future might hold for him and his young family. And then things turned around…

The rider goes off on his own to Phuket where he takes up Muay Thai, the eight-point martial arts defence system that, when used as purely a fitness regime, helps both body and soul and that indescribable thing called human resolve.

For the wiry Alberto Sanna, the drive and passion and fitness to win are still there, but mixed with more clarity of mind and an inner peace. Muay Thai makes him more chillaxed these days.

In the midst of all this change enters a Mr Miyage-type character in former thirteen time champion Hong Kong jockey Douglas Whyte- the Thinking Man’s Jockey.

Whyte, who owns property in Tuscany and is a family friend of the Italian rider, has a great deal riding on changing career paths after being named a first season trainer in Hong Kong.

Being the very focused and determined professional that he is and who never stops learning, Whyte, who spent considerable time with Monty Roberts aka “The Horse Whisperer”, uses the Hong Kong off-season travelling around the world and learning from the best in Europe, the UK and Australia.

Douglas Whyte returns to Hong Kong, works on marketing his brand on course and on Instagram (@canridehorses) and knowing full well about the ups and downs of horse racing, especially in Hong Kong, puts his faith in Alberto Sanna- and is rewarded almost immediately.

Though not riding Whyte’s first winner as a trainer, The Sanna Man strikes with a horse named Big Fortune.

Like Spider-Man and the Iron Man, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, the pair combine again to win with Uncle Steve, Last Kingdom, and last Sunday on Chater Thunder.

To prove he’s no one trick pony and is his own man, Alberto Sanna, known for winning on horses that haven’t even placed for other riders, wins the last at the most recent Happy Wednesday on 51-1 chance aboard the Ricky Yiu trained Speedy King.

At Happy Valley tonight, the ‘feel good’ Sanna: The Movie! continues…

The Man From Sardinia has a full book of rides including three for Douglas Whyte plus being in demand by other trainers including Chris So, Francis Lui, Me Tsui, Michael Chang and- good grief- Tony Millard!

How will this story end? There is no end. It’s no fairy tale either. It’s only the prequel to the sequel and the sequel to the prequel and…

To be continued…

#AlbertoSanna #DouglasWhyte #HKracing