Hong Kong racing is five fixtures into the post-Joao Moreira era and any notion that the circuit’s jockeys might be having an easier time of things is proving to be a fallacy. The dynamics have changed but the competition is still intense.
“A lot of people were thinking that it was going to be easier with Joao leaving but I didn’t think so,” Karis Teetan said during a pause from his Monday (24 September) morning routine at Sha Tin.
One look at the jockeys’ premiership table ahead of Wednesday (26 September) night’s eight-race Happy Valley card bears testament to that. Champion Zac Purton sits on five wins, a tally matched by South African newcomer Grant Van Niekerk. On that pair’s heels, with four wins apiece, are Teetan, Derek Leung, Vincent Ho, Victor Wong and Matthew Chadwick.
“It’s so open and all of the jockeys are working hard to get as many rides as they can, so it’s pretty hard to get lots of good rides,” Teetan observed.
Moreira left Hong Kong at the end of last season, having set records for most wins (145, 168, 170) in three consecutive title-winning seasons before running second to Purton in 2017/18.
Naturally, one thing the Brazilian’s departure has already led to is a broader spread of those “good rides.” Teetan, for one, is seeing the benefit of that outcome, notably through his developing association with Tony Cruz, the handler having stated his intention to leg-up the Mauritian lightweight on dual G1 winner Pakistan Star.
“I’m pretty happy with the way things are going, I’m trying hard to get those good rides. I’m getting some nice chances from good yards and I just need to make sure the ball keeps on rolling,” the rider said.