The risks involved with being a jockey should never be undervalued – riding speed machines that weigh upwards of 1000lb is a dangerous profession in anyone’s eyes, but that doesn’t stop Karis Teetan, who is looking to remain in the spotlight after a sparkling February when he kicks off this month with eight rides at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, 2 March.
After victory aboard Romantic Warrior in the HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Mile, Teetan slammed in 11 wins through February – just over a quarter of his seasonal haul (40) – form he puts down to a sound mind and body after a challenging start to the season which was hampered by a fall last October at Happy Valley, a lingering niggle and another mishap in December.
“Things are starting to go well again – I started ok, and I had a lot of seconds last season, so I was hoping for them to turn into winners, but the fall I had at Happy Valley set me back a bit – I must say for about two months it gave me a bit of trouble, I was struggling a bit with that shoulder.
“I didn’t rest the shoulder after that fall at Happy Valley and it got worse, then in December that fall just, sort of, did not give it that chance to heal properly, so it was on and off and after that it improved, but now it’s nice to be over that and I’m only looking forward now,” Teetan said.
Physically determined and brimming with confidence, Teetan’s fruitful February included a four-timer on Wednesday evening (23 February) and a pair of doubles – form he is aiming to kick on with until the season’s conclusion on 16 July at Sha Tin.
“I think the most important thing is, that once you feel you are 100 percent again you can do all of your work, you can prepare at home, whatever you need to do for the races, so when you get to the races you are feeling 100 percent.
“I think that’s been a big change for me after December and I just hope now I can look forward and keep working as hard as I can towards the end of the season, and as always, try to ride as many winners as I can,” Teetan said.
The 31-year-old’s unwavering resilience was on show at December’s LONGINES Hong Kong International Races when he dusted himself off after the accident-marred G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), only to bag a win four races later that afternoon.
Since arriving in Hong Kong for the 2013/14 season from the ‘horse racing mad’ island of Mauritius via the well-renowned South African Jockey Academy, Teetan has amassed a swift 514 wins in town – led by his career-high 93 in the 2019/20 season.
And ahead of this term’s 50th fixture on Wednesday night, Teetan is once again staring down the barrel of another brilliant campaign as he looks to continue his burgeoning association with the emerging Happy Daily in the second section of the Class 3 Baker Handicap (1200m).
“He is a very nice horse, when I started riding him at the beginning of the season, he was a horse that needed to change a few things – he wasn’t settling and Peter (Ho) spoke to me and mentioned that he needs to be ridden quietly and that he would then able to show his true potential.
“Then you could see, the more he settled and switched off in the race that this was when he did his best work towards the end, and I think at the moment he is really in a good place because he is nice and relaxed and he’s racing well, so I think he has a bit more to show with his rating,” Teetan outlined.
Assigned 116lb, Happy Daily – a son of Pins – rises to Class 3 for the first time after his slashing third last start from the rear of the field.
“Last time, I thought he ran a brilliant race, we didn’t draw well but he made up a lot of ground and even this time we aren’t drawn well, but I’m not too worried about the draw because we have the light weight and I’m hoping that there’s a bit of speed in the race which will help him – if it is fast and he gets some luck in the run then he will, for sure, finish strongly,” Teetan said.
This time – the 62-rater faces his stiffest test yet, up in grade and looking to repel debut winner Lucky Sweynesse who also steps out with a light weight under jockey Joao Moreira.
“I would say so (a few more rating points to climb), definitely, in his last four or five runs he has improved a lot and now even going up to Class 3, it is not a big concern, because I believe he will still go up a bit more,” Teetan said.
Earlier on the card, Teetan partners Packing Famous who is looking to capture his first win at his seventh outing in the Class 3 Gillies Handicap (1650m) after an eye-catching fourth last start.
“He ran well last time; we were held up a bit as we turned into the home straight but he’s coming on nicely and I think he will have his chance again this time.
“I rode him Monday morning and he feels like he is ready to go again, he’s had three runs in Class 4, so I think he should be ready now to do one better,” Teetan said.
Teetan clocked 55s (28.6, 26.4) aboard the 55-rater for his turf gallop on Tuesday at Sha Tin.
Teetan also takes the mount aboard Nicconi County in the first section of the Class 3 Baker Handicap (1200m) for trainer Caspar Fownes.
“His last trial looked very good, I actually got the ride very late at entries – I asked Caspar (Fownes) and he thinks the horse is a really nice horse, he thinks a lot about the horse and it’s nice for him to come up with a draw and I hope he can run well,” Teetan said.
The three-year-old previously raced as Silent Theory in Australia under the care of Leon and Troy Corstens – finishing second once from one run in the Listed Without Fear Stakes (1050m) at Morphettville.
Today’s nine-race fixture at Happy Valley kicks off at 12h45 with the second section of the Class 3 Bulkeley Handicap (1650m).