Karis Teetan does not know if Mary Slack remembers him from the nine years he spent learning his trade in South Africa, but he knows she will be watching his every move aboard her first Hong Kong-trained runner, Wings Of War, at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Teetan, who entered the South African Jockey Academy in 2006, claimed South Africa’s apprentice title in 2008 and moved to Hong Kong in 2013, wore Slack’s famous black and red Wilgerbosdrift colours many times at the likes of Arlington, Fairview and Kenilworth in his teenage years and early 20s.
“I rode a lot of horses for her back home,” Teetan said. “I don’t know if she still remembers me, but I’m sure she will on Sunday. She’s a great owner to ride for. We’re blessed to have owners like her in South Africa who keep supporting racing.
“It’s nice to be able to have a big owner like Mary Slack in Hong Kong. I think it’s a great thing to do. To be able to ride her first runner in Hong Kong is a great opportunity for me,” Teetan enthused about Slack, who is part of a Jockey Club initiative allowing in select international owners in a bid to strengthen the global standing of Hong Kong racing.
Now 32, Teetan will don Slack’s silks in a race for the first time in years when he rides Tony Millard-prepared British Group Two winner Wings Of War from gate eight in Sunday’s Class Three TVB Wai Yin Association Special Handicap (1,200m).
However, Teetan has worn Wilgerbosdrift’s black jacket three times in public since late December, partnering 2021 Mill Reef Stakes (1,200m) victor Wings Of War in each of his Hong Kong trials.
Wings Of War, the Group Two-winning juvenile whose British handicap rating peaked at 109 immediately following his black-type success at Newbury under Adam Kirby for Clive Cox, has looked the goods in each of his three Hong Kong preliminary heats.
“I’d watched some of his races,” said Teetan of Wings Of War, who also boasts four Group placings across the United Kingdom and France, including his last-start Group Three Hungerford Stakes (1,400m) third. “When I first sat on him, he gave me a good feel.
“He’s a lovely horse. He’s doing everything right in his trials. He’s ready to go to the races. Of course, he’s going to improve with racing, but I think he’s going to be competitive. He’s got class about him.”
Another highly rated galloper Teetan believes will make his presence felt first up is Carroll Street, the Douglas Whyte-trained sprinter who has been off the scene for more than eight months.
Teetan will steer Carroll Street, who has not raced since he pulled up lame after finishing 10th in a fast-run Class Three dash on June 5, from the most advantageous barrier – gate nine of nine – in Sunday’s Class Two TVB Pok Oi Charity Show Handicap (1,000m) on Sha Tin’s biased straight course.
Carroll Street has won each of his three trials ahead of his long-awaited return, with Teetan on his back for the heat he edged at Sha Tin on February 7.
“His trials up at Conghua were impressive, and his trial at Sha Tin was pretty good, too,” said Teetan of Carroll Street. “I think it’s the right time to get on him. He’s going well. He’s got a
good draw. He’s got a nice galloping weight on his back.
“When he started out, I used to ride him in the mornings, and I rode him once [in a race]. But he’s come a long way since then. He’s improved a lot.”
Teetan has a nice book of rides on Sunday as he seeks to add to his tally of 23 wins this season. As well as Wings Of War and Carroll Street, his assignments include Million Challenge champion Nearly Fine away from his favourite haunt, Happy Valley, and last-start winners Give Way Please and Go Go Sixteen.
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