Karis Teetan ‘really confident’ about reunion with Romantic Warrior in Sunday’s Stewards’ Cup specta
It is the most anticipated Hong Kong race in recent memory and no one has waited longer for Sunday’s Group One Stewards’ Cup (1,600m) than Karis Teetan, who will finally climb back aboard Romantic Warrior more than nine months after they won April’s Group One QE II Cup (2,000m).
Teetan missed Romantic Warrior’s victories in the Group Two Jockey Club Cup (2,000m) and Group One Hong Kong Cup (2,000m) while sidelined with a thyroid condition, watching on as James McDonald saluted aboard the superstar five-year-old.
But trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing has stayed true to his word and Teetan gets his chance to chase more glory with a galloper he also has Classic Mile and Hong Kong Derby successes aboard.
“I’m feeling really confident and I’ll go out there knowing I’m on one of the best horses in the world,” Teetan said.
Standing in the way of the Mauritian and Romantic Warrior are the horse who has dominated Hong Kong racing for the past three years, Golden Sixty, and swashbuckling front runner California Spangle.
The battle between the city’s three highest-rated gallopers – as well as fellow Group One winners Waikuku, Russian Emperor and Panfield – has fans and form analysts salivating the world over and the “big three” have drawn alongside each other.
“The gate was never going to be an issue, but gate four is OK. We’re right next to the big horses and we’re happy,” Teetan said of Romantic Warrior’s draw outside Golden Sixty (two) and California Spangle (three).
“Tomorrow morning, I’ll sit on him and then I’ll pop into the stable to have a chat with Danny.
“We know roughly what the plan is going to be, but it’ll be nice to talk through the race to have it fresh in our minds. At this stage, we’re just going to let him be where he’s comfortable – not too far from California Spangle and either in front of or behind Golden Sixty.
“We’ll see on the day how the track is running and all these things, but we’re just going to keep things as simple as we can.”
After working Romantic Warrior on Thursday morning, Teetan is convinced he is “ready to rock 'n' roll” and also believes the step back to the mile will not be an issue.
It is basically a year to the day since Romantic Warrior beat California Spangle by half a length to win last season’s Classic Mile in his only attempt at 1,600m.
“He’s such a good horse and whatever you ask of him, he’ll just do it. His last trial was great, he showed a lot of natural speed and Danny has only given him one trial, so he’s fresh and he’s going to be fine at 1,600m,” Teetan said.
Teetan also boasts a live chance in Sunday’s other feature, the Classic Mile, but will have to do it the hard way for a second time aboard Flagship Warrior, who has again drawn barrier 14 after saluting from the outside alley in his Hong Kong debut last month.
“It’s a shame. We won from that gate last time, but it’s going to make it tough for him. The good thing is it’ll force us to take a sit on him, switch him off completely and let him run home,” Teetan said.
“It’ll all depend on the speed. I think there’ll be a few horses who’ll try to put the speed on. I’m very happy with this horse. I think he’s got a bright future.”
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