With three trials on the All Weather track at Sha Tin on Tuesday the leading jockeys were out in force on another warm early winter day with Zac Purton declaring that he was happy with the start of LONGINES HKIR week, but he would wait until after Sunday’s race meeting to see how happy he was then.
Chasing Purton, last season’s championship winner, on the jockey premiership is Karis Teetan as a graphic demonstration on how fortunes change. It was not so long ago that Teetan was happy with his lot climbing the ranks of the jockey bench riding the second and third tier John Size trained runners.
At the end of last season Joe Moreira declared his ambition to ride in Japan, Nash Rawiller was gone through disqualification and Purton had climbed a seemingly unsurmountable ladder to pass Moreira for the championship.
This week Moreira is back from Japan as the stable jockey for Size, with presumably not even The Magic Man able to claw back over the rest of the season the 35 winners to-date for Purton and 29 for Teetan to reclaim the championship.
The task now for the rest of the riding bench is to adapt to Size’s number one runners going to Moreira.
However, on Sunday such is the quality of Size’s sprinters in the HK$20m, Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) there are sufficient rides to go around with Moreira on Hot King Prawn (AUS), Sam Clipperton on D B Pin (NZ), Christophe Lemaire on Ivictory (AUS) and Ryan Moore on Beat The Clock (AUS). Teetan is on Frankie Lor’s Mr Stunning (AUS) who used to trained by Size.
Teetan is looking forward to the battle with the Size brigade.
“I am looking forward to Sunday, I think in the big one my best one will be Mr Stunning, his preparation has gone really well. Last time we got beat by the grey horse (Hot Kong Prawn) of course with a weight difference,” he said.
“Zac’s horse went into me around the turn and maybe cost me a few lengths, but I was very impressed how my horse quickened away from Zac.
“I trialled him last week and he felt really good and I think he is ready for the big day.
“It is a hot race and John is really strong in the race, Of course we have the Japanese horse (Fine Needle) who has come back. Last time we ran in front of him, but of course he must have improved, but I think Hong Kong with the John Size group they are pretty strong,” he said.
The grey horse, Hot King Prawn (AUS), picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Teetan summed up the sprint strategy for the ‘grey horse’s’ opponents.
“The grey horse is very, very good. I have ridden him and won on him.,” he says.
“He has that speed. He can get you to follow him using petrol and he still has the kick in the straight. So if he makes you use the petrol (to stay with him at the start) and he gives Joe two lengths it is difficult to run him down.
“You will run close to him as he gets tired, 1200m is just max for him, but it could be too late. So I am really hoping with the weight difference (0.5lb) this time I can have the advantage,” he said.
Teetan rides another Size runner in the HK$25m, Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m), What Else But You (AUS), up against the world ranked John Moore trained Beauty Generation (NZ).
The strategy for this is summed up by Teetan’s riding experience against Moore and Purton’s star
“I just looked down and looked up again and in two strides he was gone. Imagine how fast he went We will be chasing him again that is for use,” he said succulently.
For Teetan this week is special as it is for locals and visitors alike.
“So many people from around the world are here, you get to meet everybody and we have so many good horses competing to just make racing better,” he said.
Track footnotes – Everyone took advantage of the warm day before a cold front sweeps in later in the week from China with the international runners exercised to varying degrees mainly in the All Weather.
Comin’ Through (AUS) quietly went through a lap in the manner that trainer Chris Waller described he will throughout the week, nice and easy.
Latrobe (IRE) followed him, having a small buck jump on the top bend, but looking much calmer and settled after another lap. The Aidan O’Brien trained Irish Derby winner back in June was second in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes over 2000m at Flemington on November 10th in his only race in Australia.
The Camelot colt looks to be over his fall at the crossing from the Turf to the All Weather track when he decided that he was not quite sure of the procedure.
Ed Dunlop’s Red Verdon (USA) missed racing in the Melbourne Cup due to a bruised heel and he looks in need of a race to lose his pent up energy.
The Japanese five-year-old Stay Gold mare Crocosmia (JPN) was the sole runner to work on the turf and fine work it was. The athletic mare galloped very well and walked back with ears pricked clearly enjoying the environment.
The 2017 Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup winner was just touched out of a successive win in this year’s renewal by Lys Gracieux (JPB) who also runs in the HK$20m, Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m).
As does Charlie Fellowes’ Prince Of Arran (GB) who comes to the race off his third in the Melbourne Cup on November 6th. Prince Of Arran has taken his Australian experience to heart looking totally relaxed and at ease with himself on the All Weather.
Prince Of Arran (GB) on the All Weather on Tuesday, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club