Romantic Touch (121lb) carried off the Class 1 Kwangtung Handicap Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin Racecourse this afternoon, Sunday, 9 September, and sparked a three-win spree for a new alliance.
Karis Teetan, third in the jockeys’ premiership last term and touted as a potential title contender this time around, teamed with two-time champion trainer and Hong Kong hero Tony Cruz to snare races two, three and four on the 10-contest card.
After a confident catch-me-if-you-can score on Romantic Touch in the feature, Teetan drove the Cruz-trained up-and-comer Circuit Number Two to a narrow verdict in the Class 3 Dongguan Handicap (1600m); the duo completed a hat-track in the next, the Class 5 Zhuhai Handicap (1400m), thanks to Supreme Witness.
That tally represented two more wins than the pairing enjoyed in the whole of last season when Teetan had 12 rides for the Cruz stable, the last of which, back in June, yielded a G3 success with California Whip.
The Mauritian lightweight arrived at the track today without a win in the season’s opening two fixtures but there was no evidence of wilting confidence. Teetan’s handling of Romantic Touch inferred the opposite, in fact, marching to the lead and then winding up to hold off race favourite Rattan (118lb) by three parts of a length in a time of 1m 21.72s.
“Romantic Touch is a tough little horse,” the rider said of the 7/1 chance. “When I trialled him I was very happy with him. Even though a couple of other horses were fancied, I knew that if I could get him into position and enjoy a nice run, then he’d let down for me. Tony had him spot on.”
Cruz is looking towards the G3 Celebration Cup (1400m) on 1 October as the eight-year-old’s likely next target.
“Karis rode a perfect race on the lead,” the handler said. “This horse is very fit and his trial was really good so I expected him to run well. He’ll go to the Group 3 on National Day, there’s nothing else for him, really.”