Horse Racing
Career high not enough for hungry Teetan

By Declan Schuster
28/05/2019 16:31

Karis Teetan celebrates victory aboard Mr Stunning at HKIR in December.
Karis Teetan celebrates victory aboard Mr Stunning at HKIR in December.

Zac Purton stole the show at Sha Tin on Sunday, much as he has done all season long, but he is not the only rider enjoying a sweet run of form this term, Karis Teetan is enjoying a dream campaign too.

“This has been my greatest season ever,” Teetan said ahead of Wednesday’s (29 May) Happy Valley fixture. “I have been riding some really nice horses this season for good stables, so that always helps, when you get the right horses and opportunities.”

The Mauritian has 75 wins on the board, 23 more than the 52 he tallied in the 2017/18 season – his previous best – and enough to sit second place in the premiership, albeit 57 behind Purton.

“I take every race meeting seriously and try to ride winners all the time, but just being behind Zac and around Joao (Moreira) is a good feeling, knowing I have a chance on some horses to compete against jockeys like that,” he said.

Teetan’s first Hong Kong win came at his first ride back in September 2013, saluting aboard Amazing Always for David Ferraris. Since then, the Mauritian has added a further 292 wins to his rising score.

The 29-year-old light-weight rider has thrived in Hong Kong’s tough environment and claimed his first Hong Kong G1 win on Mr Stunning in the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint in December.

“You always try to improve yourself and look for better things, I’m going to just keep on pushing and try to get the best rides; of course, Zac is pretty strong on getting many good rides, but I’m still young and I’m going to have to fight and I just like the competition,” he said.

Teetan will attempt to hold second spot in the premiership ahead of a late season drive from Moreira and has a book of eight midweek rides including Clement Legend (129lb) in the Class 4 Lam Tsuen River Handicap (2200m), a horse he guided to four consecutive wins earlier this term.

“I think the freshen-up has done him good, he’s in much better condition now, I’m looking forward to riding him,” he said.

Clement Legend seals his fourth consecutive win.

Trainer Danny Shum has spaced Clement Legend’s runs since concluding his win streak in February, racing only twice since with his latest effort coming over 1800m at Sha Tin in late April.

“He got to a mark where he was just struggling and his form was not at his best,” Teetan said. “I worked him last week and I feel like he’s come back to form again. He’s not a difficult horse to ride, you just have to leave him where he is comfortable, but he just doesn’t like a slow pace, he will not be able to quicken up from a slow pace.

“The long races can be funny sometimes, especially at Happy Valley where they will go slow and something normally takes off, but of course if nothing goes then he will have to do it.”

Coby Oppa finishes fourth at his first start at Happy Valley.

Teetan will partner the Frankie Lor-trained Coby Oppa (124lb) in the Class 3 Tan Shan River Handicap (1200m) as the two-time winner on dirt seeks a maiden turf success. The gelding was fourth at the course and distance three runs back.

“I don’t think he’s just a dirt horse I think he can handle the turf,” he said. “I think the time he ran at Happy Valley where he finished pretty close, he was very green, he just didn’t know the course.

“I feel the horse has improved already and going back to Happy Valley this time will be much better,” he added.

Teetan will be looking to go back-to-back on the Tony Cruz-trained Hong Kong Bet (131lb) in the Class 3 Nam Chung River Handicap (1000m).

“I think he has a bright future in front of him, he has improved a lot from the time I have been riding, so I would expect him to have improved again from last time,” he said of the thrice-raced three-year-old.

Purton looks to keep rolling

Zac Purton celebrates victory aboard Exultant.
Zac Purton celebrates victory aboard Exultant.

Purton’s career-best term rolls into Happy Valley full of momentum after tallying seven of the 12 possible G1’s this season, thanks to Exultant’s weekend win – one of six on the day – which came less than 24 hours after the Australian partnered Southern Legend to Kranji Mile success.

“You savour any win here, you work for every single win that you get, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into it and you need the opportunities,” the champion jockey said, adding, “that day’s now behind me and I need to focus on what I need to do.”

The Australian Ace has ridden an astonishing 13 winners from his last 25 rides in Hong Kong and will partner last-start winner Le Terroir (127lb) in the Class 4 Ho Chung River Handicap (1200m), the fourth race on Wednesday’s card.

Le Terroir will break from barrier two in Wednesday’s race. He was forced to work early from stall 11 when winning last start.

“I think the horse was always working his way towards a win, to be competitive and be in a finish like he was, he’s probably just matured a little bit more in recent times,” Purton said.

“I think the draw helps him a lot, from those awkward gates he had to do a little bit of work to get into a handy spot, whereas from this draw he should be able to get there more comfortably and hopefully that means he’s got a little bit more to give but the form out of his races has been solid.”

Size’s Grit seeks hat-trick

True Grit (No. 4) seals his second consecutive win.
True Grit (No. 4) seals his second consecutive win.

Joao Moreira’s fantastic four-timer on Sunday was only a footnote alongside Purton’s successes but showed that the three-time champion is riding at the top of his game. He is booked to partner True Grit (118lb) in Wednesday’s Class 3 Shan Pui River Handicap (1650m), with the four-year-old aiming to nail a hat-trick of wins.

“True Grit looks good,” trainer John Size said. “He seems to be putting it all together now, he was quite a slow learner I thought early in the piece – with his trials and even at the races – but now he’s worked it out and he looks like he’s going to go further.”

True Grit raced four times in 2018, for two placings, before a fever late in the year prompted to Size to transfer him to Conghua.

“He was one of the horses that went up there (Conghua) quite early and he seems to have made the adaption: when he started to race from there he ran well, so I’ve left him there,” the trainer said.

Happy Valley’s eight-race card starts at 7.15pm with the Class 4 Ho Chung River Handicap (1200m).