Horse Racing
Teetan maintains his December sparkle at the Valley

By David Morgan
18/12/2019 23:57

Karis Teetan seals a treble on Highly Proactive
Karis Teetan seals a treble on Highly Proactive

Karis Teetan was in the spotlight with his LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship triumph at Happy Valley two weeks ago and tonight (Wednesday, 18 December) the Mauritian ace sparkled again with a treble.

The rider drew on a mix of seasoned savvy, determined physicality and buoyant confidence to notch his eighth, ninth and 10th wins for the month, taking his tally for the term to 29.

“It’s pretty good,” the rider said. “You always have to work hard in this place if you want to keep riding the winners and that’s what I always plan to do.”

The three-timer was all the more laudable for the fact that two of his wins came from the outside draw, gate 12, a disadvantage on the C+3 course when the rail is positioned at its farthest point from the inner.

“Going into the race, I thought maybe I could get across but he was a bit out at the first turn,” Teetan said after sealing the treble on Highly Proactive.

The four-year-old shrugged off inexperience and a wide passage to take the Class 3 Venus Handicap (1200m) by three quarters of a length at only his third Hong Kong start.

Highly Proactive does it the tough way.

“I was trying not to do too much early but I had four horses to my inside that I had to cross. I had to just work that extra little bit and I was surprised that this horse kept on finding into the straight,” Teetan said.

“He’s a tough little horse; it was a very good win so hopefully he can improve on this.”

The Francis Lui-trained gelding arrived with a record of two from two in New Zealand, having been sourced by the handler’s retired former stable apprentice Kei Chiong.

“Kei bought the horse, somebody recommended it and she’s friends with the owner,” Lui said.

“The horse was drawn 12, he was caught wide, but he can run!”

Flying Genius proved his ability to run too when defying top-weight and the wide starting berth in the Class 4 Jupiter Handicap (1000m). No horse this season had managed to make the top three from barrier 12 over 1000m on the C+3 course until Teetan produced a slick ride.

Teetan celebrates California Turbo’s win
Teetan celebrates California Turbo’s win

The Tony Cruz-trained three-year-old had pace enough to overcome the wide gate inconvenience, crossing to the lead and quickening to an impressive second win at his third start.

Teetan and Cruz combined again when California Turbo (116lb) broke his Hong Kong maiden in the Class 4 Venus Handicap (1200m). The Conghua-based five-year-old, a three-time winner in Australia where he was G3-placed over 2000m, lifted late under a vigorous ride to deny top-weight Red Desert (133lb).

Party time

Big Party powers home in the Class 2.

Big Party looked a potential star last season with three promising wins from six starts. A decent first-up fifth in a hot field last month presaged an imposing success in the evening’s finale, the Class 2 Mercury Handicap (1200m).

“I always had a very high opinion about this horse even though I’d never ridden him before,” jockey Joao Moreira said after the grey had clocked a fast 1m 08.64s in claiming a comfortable length and a half success.

“The class that he’s been against previously, I thought those horses were much stronger than the opposition tonight, so I was quite confident. It was an impressive win; he’s all about speed – when I put him on the outside and just gave him a tap, he exploded and ran away. That’s what good horses do.”

Frankie Lor’s charge has had a few injury issues in the past and the trainer is extra careful about how he manages his athlete.

“Everything is ok with him: before, he had a little problem, he had a back problem too but now he’s fine. We usually do a lot with him, the boys put him on the massage machine every day,” he said.

Amazing success

Amazing Star eases down for the win under Zac Purton
Amazing Star eases down for the win under Zac Purton

Amazing Star produced a stellar performance too, coasting to an eased-down four and a half-length victory in the Class 3 Venus Handicap (1200m).

“He surprised me how easy he won. I thought he’d win but not by that far,” jockey Zac Purton said.

“He’s had a lot of time off so he’s been able to develop and furnish into a nice horse. His best asset is his gate speed and he cruises along at a nice tempo as well and he gave me a good kick.”

The Jimmy Ting-trained five-year-old won one from six in his first season – for his previous handler Chris So – but returned from a set-back last term with two below par efforts. A further injury side-lined the Darci Brahma gelding until a winning return last month and after this latest success he looks set to rise to the Class above.

“I think he’ll still have a chance in Class 2 because he’ll have a light weight but the horses in that Class are much faster so it might be difficult,” Ting said.

“Last season he disappointed but I still thought he had potential. I believed he could win but not as easily as this.”

Bear Again cruises home under Alexis Badel.

Bear Again broke through at his 11th Hong Kong outing when surging away under Alexis Badel in the Class 3 Mars Handicap (1650m). David Ferraris’ charge was fourth in two G2 races in South Africa pre-import and displayed a touch of class in drawing four lengths clear in a smart time of 1m 38.85s.

Matthew Chadwick maintained his solid form this term, driving Lightning Steed (114lb) to victory in the Class 4 Uranus Handicap (1650m) at odds of 46/1. The rider kicked the Caspar Fownes-trained galloper to the lead into the home turn and the five-year-old repelled the late charge of runner-up Thunder Stomp (131lb).

Dennis Yip has found winners hard to come by this season but after going winless for a month before bagging the Class 5 at Sha Tin on Sunday, the handler followed up when the Purton-ridden Happy Hour took the opener tonight, another Class 5, the Neptune Handicap (1650m). The five-year-old came into the Hong Kong system rated 71 after winning his only two starts in New Zealand, but after taking time to find his feet, won his first local race off a mark of 37 at start 19.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Saturday, 21 December.