They were given the same rating of 82 on their arrival in Hong Kong, only half a length split them in their debuts and a pair of impressive three-year-olds will lock horns again at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Private Purchases Lucky Express and Armando have their second starts in the Class Two Yan Chau Tong Handicap (1,200m) and judging by their first-up showings, they are poised to be right in the finish.
Lucky Express, who won twice in Australia when named Prince Of Sussex and came to Hong Kong carrying a big rap, finished third at Sha Tin five weeks ago.
The John Size-trained galloper was only three quarters of a length off winner Mr Croissant, while Armando was close behind in fourth – no mean feat by the pair after being thrown in the Class Two deep end on debut.
While it was $2.10 favourite Lucky Express finishing ahead of $18 outsider Armando last time out, Karis Teetan climbs aboard the latter again this weekend and expects his charge to produce an even better display.
“He ran well first time out so I’m looking forward to riding him again. I’m expecting him to improve,” Teetan said.
Armando came to Hong Kong from South Africa undefeated, where he was trained by Brett Crawford and strung together three consecutive victories – including a Group Three in June last year.
He has trialled nicely since his maiden Hong Kong appearance and the Tony Millard-trained colt will be looking to return to the winner’s circle from barrier 10.
“He looks the stand-out of my rides,” Teetan said. “He trialled well last week and he will be a good horse.”
Armando carries 119 pounds, while Lucky Express was hit with one point for his debut third and will lump 120 pounds from gate eight under Joao Moreira.
The duo will again tackle Mr Croissant – who carries an extra six pounds – as well as consistent Tony Cruz-trained youngster All In Mind, who filled the quinella spot behind Mr Croissant.
Teetan has a full book of 11 rides for the penultimate Sha Tin meeting of 2019-20 and he’s not ready for his career-best season to end.
A treble on Wednesday took him to 88 winners for the term and left him an outside chance of reaching 100 with four meetings remaining.
“I don’t normally set goals but I’ve passed my previous best of 84 so I’m just happy for things to keep going the way they have been going,” the Mauritian said.
“I just need to keep the ball rolling towards the end of the season, it’s not over yet and I need to be fully focused in these last few meetings.
“When you get the support it makes it so much easier, so if I can finish off the season on a good note and get that same support next season, that would be perfect.”
Teetan also rides California Concord, who is looking to continue his good form on the dirt, as well as last-start winners Super Alliances and Hang’s Decision.