Karis Banking On Santorini’s Experience

Sha Tin first due off @ 10h00 on Saturday

Entrenched in Hong Kong’s upper echelon of jockeys, Karis Teetan believes race experience will prove decisive when Santorini contests the Yan Chau Tong Plate for Griffins at Sha Tin on Saturday.

Santorini (inside) was narrowly defeated last start

Santorini (inside) under Karis Teetan was narrowly defeated by Thunder Blink (Jerry Chau) last start (Pic – HKJC)

Placed at all three starts for Frankie Lor, Santorini will jump from barrier 3 in a field of 14 which contains six first-starters – Angelic, Ka Ying Resilience, Karate Express, New Asia Great, Smiling Emperor and Solar River.

“Santorini is taking step by step. I know it’s back to 1000 metres now, but he’s gained a lot of experience already, so I think he’ll be okay,” Teetan said. “He’s a nice little horse and he’s improving with each run. I thought his last run was a great effort – actually when he hit the front, he got a bit green and waited for other horses.

“I think the horse that beat him, Thunder Blink, and won the race looks like a decent horse so I’m happy with my bloke. I galloped him during the week and I’m really happy with the way he’s going.”

Third on debut to Jimmy Ting’s Thunder Blink over 1000m on 14 April, Santorini chased home Jamie Richards-trained La Forza over 1000m on 5 May before being edged out by Thunder Blink over 1200m at Sha Tin on 26 May.

Teetan takes 11 rides on Saturday as he attempts to add to the 77 wins, he has amassed so far this season.

Frankie Lor has 43 winners for the season

Frankie Lor has 43 winners for the season (Pic – HKJC)

Lor will saddle seven runners at the 81st meeting of the season, including Victory Moments who will carry 135lb under Zac Purton in the Class 3 Grass Island Handicap.

The Spieth gelding is aiming to add a third win over the course and distance.

“Last time, I put the blinkers on which was a big help for him, he was better, and he was able to win,” Lor said. “He has kept his form really well but this time he carries a big weight, but I think 1200m is still okay and he’s got a good draw (2). He’s very consistent on the all-weather track.”

Lor hopes stablemate Beauty Live’s improved effort to finish fourth last start is a good portent as the gelding prepares to tackle the Class 3 Kat O Handicap.

“Last time, he got an outside draw (12) and I asked the jockey, Angus Chung, to go back and in the straight, when he asked the horse, he kept coming,” Lor said.

“Before, he had an injury with a splint bone and then a little bit of a tendon problem. Now he is back to normal, everything is good, and the form looks better.”

Brenton Avdulla has enjoyed a strong 2023/24 campaign.

Brenton Avdulla has enjoyed a strong 2023/24 campaign (Pic – HKJC)

Brenton Avdulla is optimistic Gracious Express can continue an upward trajectory for Ricky Yiu when the Churchill gelding contests the Class 3 Clear Water Bay Handicap after a narrow, but impressive, last start victory.

“He won well. He had to do a bit of work from the gate (11) on a track that probably suited being right there and he was able to tough it out. He’s had a little tick over at Conghua in between and again, he’s drawn a little bit awkward, but I’m sure he’ll race well,” the Australian said.

“He’s still lightly-raced, he’s raced well in everything he’s done so far, and I think he’ll continue to improve. I’m sure in time he’ll progress through the grades.”

Saturday’s Sha Tin card starts with the Yan Chau Tong Plate for Griffins at 10h00.

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