Horse Racing
Karis Teetan reaches new season’s high

By David Morgan
27/02/2019 23:55

Karis Teetan celebrates a new personal best aboard Wah May Princess.
Karis Teetan celebrates a new personal best aboard Wah May Princess.

Karis Teetan reached a new personal best at Happy Valley tonight (Wednesday, 27 February). The Mauritian ace bagged a double to take his season’s tally to 54 wins, two more than his previous Hong Kong peak achieved in the 2017/18 campaign.

“It’s good to get it,” he said. “I had some decent chances tonight and I just needed things to go my way. It’s been a great season and I really appreciate the help from everybody.”

Teetan edged to a new high when Wah May Princess led, kicked and held off The Show to take the Class 4 Shing Yip Handicap (1200m) by a head. That made it two wins on the bounce at the course and distance for the 2.5 favourite.

The jockey, second in the premiership, doubled up when Brave Legend swung wide off the home turn and charged down the stands’ side to win the Class 3 Hung To Handicap (1650m) at odds of 6.5. Both wins came for trainer Tony Cruz.

“I won on those two horses for Tony and they both came here off good starts last time,” Teetan said. “It’s nice to ride for a big stable too, it makes the job easier. I just try to ride as many winners as I can. I don’t set targets, I just keep pushing and focusing; look forward and keep the ball rolling.”

Brave Legend delivers doubles for Karis Teetan and trainer Tony Cruz

Cruz, who lost one of his stable stars on Tuesday when Pakistan Star transferred to Paul O’Sullivan, was delighted with Teetan’s performance in sealing a brace for his yard.

“He rides like a jockey should ride,” Cruz said. “I tell him before the race exactly what a horse’s character is all about and the horse’s strengths – like Brave Legend, I told him the horse has no early speed, so stay behind and sit one off the fence and deliver that one big turn-of-foot.

“The horse was very fit today and Karis rode the perfect race – I told him the basics and he knew what to do.”

Riders in form

Zac Purton and Happy Rocky steal the win in the last stride.
Zac Purton and Happy Rocky steal the win in the last stride.

It was another good night for two more of the season’s standout riders. Zac Purton continued his incredible run of recent form into the first two contests, scoring on Gentry for trainer Dennis Yip in the opener and then delivering an immediate follow-up on the Michael Chang-trained Happy Rocky.

The latter was a case of perfect timing. Derek Leung seemed to have set a race-wining tempo up front on Salto Olimpico but Purton delivered Happy Rocky with a surging late run to steal the win by a short-head.

That gave the Australian 11 wins from his last 18 rides up to that point but the champion jockey was unable to enhance his recent run thereafter, drawing blanks aboard each of his remaining mounts.

Silvestre de Sousa’s fine season shows no sign of fading. The Brazilian ace snared a race-to-race double thanks to Clear Choice and Breeders’ Star.

The latter delivered Britain’s champion jockey his 37th win this term in section one of the Class 3 Hoi Yuen Handicap (1200m). David Ferraris’ charge can be a tricky customer and hung inward once he hit the front in the home straight; De Sousa was wise to it though and skillfully straightened the 26/1 shot for a cosy success.

“He’s a handful and he had top-weight as well so he’s done well. But they went quick and everything went his way – he’s one of those you just never can tell when he’s going to do it,” the rider said.

De Sousa drives Breeders’ Star to victory.
De Sousa drives Breeders’ Star to victory.

Clear Choice, meanwhile, was a late pick up in race five, the Class 4 Shui Wo Handicap (1650m).

When jockey Keith Yeung withdrew before racing due to lower back pain, trainer Danny Shum turned to De Sousa who grasped his chance, driving the 2.4 favourite off the turn to score by three quarters of a length.

“It was a nice spare ride to pick up for Danny Shum and I’m just pleased to have got a couple of winners tonight,” De Sousa said.

Mr Right benefitted from the plum draw in gate one and Dylan Mo’s 5lb claim to win race three, the Class 4 Mut Wah Handicap (1000m). Trainer Peter Ho has now provided Mo with each of his last three wins.

And the rail-side barrier proved just the ticket for Water Diviner in the finale too. Francis Lui’s charge took the1200m Class 3 under Vincent Ho.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Saturday, 2 March.