An upbeat Karis Teetan returns from a successful Singapore mission, where he collected another confidence-building overseas feature, primed for the pressure ride on Designs On Rome in the Group Two Jockey Club Cup on Sunday at Sha Tin.
Teetan, who won the Korea Sprint at Seoul in September aboard Super Jockey, added the Group Two EW Barker Trophy to his big-race resume at Kranji on Friday night on Lim’s Cruiser for trainer Stephen Gray.
“It’s great to pick up a Group race overseas, that is important in any jockey’s career to win in different countries and build your reputation, Sunday is a big day so it’s nice to build the confidence,” the Mauritian said before boarding a flight back to Hong Kong on Saturday.
Tommy Berry has been the regular rider of Designs On Rome when available but Teetan retained the ride after he produced a masterful effort with a perfectly-timed sprint in the Group Two Sha Tin Trophy last month.
Teetan admits Designs On Rome is a quirky horse to ride, with the six-year-old capable of unwinding with a long and sustained sprint, but also requiring some nerve from jockeys as they judge when to unleash the horse’s run.
Adding to the degree of difficulty on Sunday is what looks a race where just nine runners and a lack of obvious pace could result in the same slowly-run middle sectionals that forced Teetan’s hand early last time.
“Tactically, I think it will be a tricky race,” Teetan said. “I don’t know where the pace will come from – they can be funny these big staying races at Sha Tin, they can go quick at the start but ease back very quickly in the back straight, it’s going to be interesting.
“I’ve got to know him now and the last few times I have ridden him with confidence, it’s a just a mater of when it’s the right time to ask him to go.
“It’s a small field and he won’t be as far behind this time, rather than being six or eight length off the lead, he might only be four lengths away and not have the same amount of ground to make up.
“He has got that great stamina – he can sprint for 600 or 700 metres – that’s his style, I’ll leave him alone at the start, and I’ll just look and focus on the pace and decide when to go.”
Teetan’s win on Lim’s Cruiser kicked off a good weekend abroad for Hong Kong-based jockeys, with Douglas Whyte collecting the Group One Railway Stakes at Ascot in Australia.
The 13-time Hong Kong champion rider controlled the race from the front on the Lindsey Smith-trained Scales Of Justice, coming away to win easily.
“I love Perth, I’ve been very successful here. Touch wood, I haven’t come here without a winner,” Whyte said.
“When he came out of the gates, they gave me a soft enough lead and he popped his ears up and I was able to get him to switch off. When I turned for home & pressed the button I had a whole lot of engine under me. I’ll certainly be back.”