Reliable Team’s battling win in the Class 2 Cochrane Handicap (1800m) ensured Karis Teetan enjoyed a memorable 30th birthday at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Karis Teetan drives Reliable Team to victory, photo Hong Kong Jockey Club
The Frankie Lor-trained grey capped a celebratory double for the ‘Mauritian Magician’ following Murray’s Partners’ success in race three.
“It’s nice to get a winner on a special day and I hope the luck can keep going,” Teetan said after marching to 76 wins for the term, eight short of last season’s personal best.
Headgear was the running theme. While Murray’s Partners found marked improvement in a first-time visor, Reliable Team lifted in newly-fitted blinkers.
“The blinkers helped a lot,” Teetan said. “I trialled Reliable Team a few weeks ago with them on and he trialled nicely. He still looks around a bit and does funny things, so I don’t think he’d have won without them tonight.
“I was worried that he was doing a bit too much but once I got him some cover he slept straight away; when I pulled him out he wanted to go next to that horse and he kept fighting him.”
Reliable Team took his record to five wins from 13 starts. The four-year-old finished a creditable fifth to Golden Sixty in the BMW Hong Kong Derby two runs back and stepped out this evening off a seven-week break.
The Reliable Man (127lb) gelding found himself up against Derby sixth Butterfield (133lb) in the run to the line and confirmed that classic form by a hard-fought short-head.
“He’s definitely improved and he’s going the right way,” Teetan said. “He needed the freshen-up and after the summer break you’d think he’ll come back a better horse.”
Teetan’s success on Murray’s Partners in section one of the Class 4 Wyndham Handicap (1650m) continued the late-season upsurge of Dennis Yip whose stable had seven wins in May; the four-year-old broke his maiden at the 13th attempt, having dropped to a mark of 40 from a debut rating of 52.
“I picked up the ride on entry day, so I really appreciate Dennis Yip’s support – the horse was very well,” Teetan said.
Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday, 7 June.