Jockey Karis Teetan put the cherry on top of a whirlwind weekend at Sha Tin on Sunday which saw him get married and boot home a double.
The Mauritian jockey tied the knot with his partner Xaviere on Saturday at a low-key ceremony after his planned off-season wedding was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were supposed to get married at the end of the season but that got postponed but we were always going to have the marriage certificate here in Hong Kong because you can’t just go to Mauritius and do it,” Teetan said.
No more than 24 hours later, Teetan had affable trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai and punters also declaring their love for him when he was able to steer home the fast finishing Righteous Doctrine in the Class Two Hoi Ha Handicap (1,800m) after being heavily backed into $7.70.
“I could see the horse was coming home very strong but he got chopped out so I was very nervous, but he really made my day – he was very strong,” Chang said before joking he was prepared to sack Teetan from the ride if he did not win the race.
Teetan admitted he was initially worried about a lack of pace in the race but those fears were put aside when the five-year-old let down regardless at the top of the straight.
“We looked at the race and on paper, there was not much speed so we were a little bit worried but Michael said don’t do anything silly because he can let down,” he said.
“Last season he was running good races but he is a better horse now. I just took him back and then before the straight if I got that first run, I was going to win easy but I didn’t.
“It got a bit tight with the inside horse and that dropped me a length behind so I had to come again but it worked our perfectly. He showed us he isn’t just a dirt horse, it was a strong win.
“It is always nice to win for Michael because he is a very nice guy, he has been giving me some nice rides so it’s good to get the job done.
“I have won a few races for him this season like that, like President’s Choice which was similar, he said I always make his heart beat fast, but at least they are winning.”
Chang, who notched up his 15th winner of the season to put him within one of avoiding a strike with 16 meetings remaining, thinks a change in jockey proved the difference for the horse.
“I think he’s improving still,” the handler said. “He always runs well on the turf, even though his two previous wins were on the dirt. He finished third last time and I don’t think he got a good run so today I wanted to put a stronger jockey on.
“Honestly, I never feel pressure [about getting a strike] – I know our team will always do a good job so I have no complaints.
“We’re getting a few more newcomers soon but they’ve all been stuck because of the coronavirus.”
Teetan began his day with a win on Casa De Forca in the Class Four Wong Ma Tei Handicap (1,400m) for trainer Tony Cruz.
The five-year-old broke through for his first win in Hong Kong after arriving on a rating of 70 last season.