After an uncharacteristically quiet patch that ran from mid-November until early this month, Karis Teetan is well on his way to returning to full flight and is determined to shore up his standing as Hong Kong’s third-most prolific jockey.
Teetan has been the clear third elect behind superstar pair Zac Purton and Joao Moreira in recent years but his mantle is under fire this term, with Alexis Badel relishing his first full season in Hong Kong and Vincent Ho Chak-yiu continuing his rise.
After hauls of 84 and 93 in the past two seasons, Teetan’s output has slowed in 2020-21 – with three suspensions not helping his cause – and Badel actually leapfrogged the Mauritian into third place earlier this month.
Teetan has edged back in front with winners at the past three meetings but he knows he’s in for a fight, with his 30 victories putting him only one clear of Badel and two in front of Ho after 38 of the 88 meetings.
“It makes me want to do well and be as close to the top as I can. You always want to improve yourself and of course Alexis is riding very well, he’s had a good month,” Teetan said.
“It’s very competitive with Alexis and of course Christophe [Soumillon] and [Antoine] Hamelin are here as well so the rides are spread all over. It’s not like it was last season, but it’s not like I’m under pressure or anything.
“I had those suspensions that knocked me back – it’s pretty hard here when you get suspended, you lose contact with everything and you lose your momentum. But I’m back into the rhythm now and hopefully things carry on smoothly.”
Teetan has nine rides at Happy Valley on Wednesday night before turning his attention to Sunday’s feature meeting and hopes Here Comes Ted can handle a step-up in grade at the city circuit.
The David Ferraris-trained four-year-old lines up in the Class Three Sheung Hei Handicap (1,200m) and is looking to continue a hot run of form that has netted three wins and three placings from his past seven starts.
“He has definitely improved a lot this season, he’s grown into a better horse physically and mentally,” said Teetan, who has won twice on the horse but hasn’t ridden him since November.
“He has been winning in Class Four and of course now he will jump to Class Three and that’s totally different.
“But he runs well at the Valley and he’s got no weight on his back this time so I don’t think he will disappoint, he should be a horse who can be competitive in Class Three.”
Looking to Sunday, Teetan partners Big Party in the Group One Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m), Southern Legend in the Group One Stewards’ Cup (1,600m) and Lucky Express in the Classic Mile.
“Big Party ran well last time and I thought he put in more effort than his previous runs. He’s been running well in this company so if he brings his A game he will be competitive,” the jockey said.
“I think Lucky Express is an improving horse, I still thought he ran very well last time. He was facing the breeze three-deep with a big weight, so I’m happy to be riding him.
“Southern Legend is in top shape and it’s amazing how he keeps earning a cheque for the owners – with some luck we can earn a cheque again.”