The jockey roundabout heading towards the HK$83 million Longines Hong Kong International Races is well under way and Karis Teetan is the beneficiary of one of the first surprises by retaining the mount on former horse of the year and past Hong Kong Cup winner, Designs On Rome.
Teetan was seat warming for Tommy Berry when he produced a tactical tour de force to win the Sha Tin Trophy on Designs On Rome last month but owner Cheng Keung Fai has decreed the Mauritian Magician should stay aboard for the Jockey Club Cup on November 20 and the HK$25 million Hong Kong Cup on December 11.
“I’ve always ridden Designs On Rome at his first run for the season, when he didn’t win, and the owner had talked to me about riding him other times. This time I won so I guess that decided it,” said a delighted Teetan. “I am very grateful to him for giving me a chance like this. The horse is in great form and this could be my chance to win a Group One.”
Trainer John Moore said the switch was “a bit of a shame” as he had indicated to Berry that he would ride the horse on which he has won four Group Ones, including a Derby.
“I asked Tommy to ride the horse in his next two starts, but he understands that the owner has made the decision and wishes them all the best, ” said Moore. “It’s part of the job but a bit of a shame. If the Jockey Club rules allowed Tommy to ride him in the Sha Tin Trophy, he would have. Now, because Karis had to substitute for him, Tommy has missed out.”
Moore said, however, that Berry would still have rides for him on November 20 in at least two of the three main races, one of which could be Able Friend.
“Joao Moreira is booked to ride Sun Jewellery in the (Jockey Club) Mile and Amazing Kids in the (Jockey Club) Sprint for John Size, so Able Friend needs a jockey and the owner has indicated he wouldn’t object to Tommy, who has won on him,” Moore said. “But Able Friend trials next Friday and has to pass an official veterinary exam yet, so we’ll see how he is first before anyone is committed.”
Moore goes four-handed into the Group Three Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse on Sunday at Sha Tin, but he had been expected to have one more, Joyful Trinity.
“No, his owner wanted to run on the 20th when the plan is to have Gerald Mosse come from Singapore to ride him there and in the international race,” Moore said.
Instead, he relies on Helene Paragon (Zac Purton), Helene Happy Star (Neil Callan), Harbour Master (Sam Clipperton) and Basic Trilogy (Kei Chiong Ka-kei) in the Ladies’ Purse, with the first two headed on towards the internationals.
“Helene Paragon galloped well this morning and he’s coming along but he needs racing to improve his fitness,” Moore said. “Helene Happy Star goes towards the Vase, Moreira rides him on the 20th but hasn’t confirmed for international day.”