Last week, Karis Teetan called Fifty Fifty the Group One horse he was looking for and he hopes the Tony Cruz-trained import Doctor Geoff can be “the right horse” in the upcoming four-year-old series.
Teetan is third in the jockeys’ championship and has ridden some recent stars as they rise through the grades but is yet to ride a Group One winner in Hong Kong. Monday’s Group Three success on up-and-coming talent Fifty Fifty has Teetan looking forward to the Group One Stewards’ Cup later this month and now Doctor Geoff contests the Class Two Violet Handicap (1,600m) two weeks out from the Hong Kong Classic Mile.
“He looks like a horse right now but also a horse that is still improving and he could be the right horse to be on heading into the four-year-old races,” Teetan said. “I’m really happy to have picked up the ride. Last time he had no luck, but in his starts and trials before that he showed some great signs.”
The four-year-olds head to the Hong Kong Classic Mile on January 21, before stretching to 1,800m of the Classic Cup a month later and 2,000m for the Derby on March 18.
On Sunday, Doctor Geoff steps up from 1,400m to a mile, a distance the son of Fast Company was successful over as a two-year-old in Ireland.
The gelding was stuck wide last time out and Teetan will need some luck this time after drawing widest of 14 on the C course.
“That barrier is the only disadvantage for us, last time he chased forward and couldn’t get in,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to Tony about tactics yet. He seems like a genuine horse but last time he just used too much petrol where he was in the run. If we can find a spot where he is comfortable this time then I am sure he will let down with a big run.”
Teetan will be shooting for three wins in a row on Morethanlucky, a flagship horse for rookie trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen who has won four this season to rise 21 points in the ratings.
Morethanlucky now finds himself facing some tough campaigners in the Class Three Heather Handicap (1,600m) but the Mauritian jockey is bullish about the four-year-old’s chances.
“Frankie has done the trick with him, but maybe it is simply a case of the horse being older and more mature,” he said. “He always showed some signs, he was a nice little horse with a great action, but he just needed time to adapt and get stronger. Of course, we will learn a lot [on Sunday], this is the real test for him.”
Another Lor-trained transfer Teetan has formed a strong association with this term is dirt specialist Imperial Concorde, a back-marker who, as always, will need things to go his way in the Class Four Fire-Cracker Vine Handicap (1,650m).
“He is a nice horse to ride and he does everything you want him to do, but he just doesn’t have any speed, that’s why he has to come from the back every time,” Teetan said. “We have drawn wide, but that’s fine because we will just slip behind and let the horses up front do the dirty work. I’ll just get him balanced and wait for the straight, feel when he is ready and start moving wide when he grabs the bit from around the 500m mark.”
Teetan partners John Size’s smart sprinter Premiere in the Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m) after riding the four-year-old at his last two starts.
The lightweight jockey admits he “got lucky” last start beating House Of Fun, a rival again on Sunday, but suggested Premiere might be the horse with more upside.
“Last time out he only won because House Of Fun ran into trouble, but I’ve ridden him a lot and been on in trials and I keep telling John – he is getting better and better,” Teetan said. “Late last season he just wasn’t quite ready, mentally or physically, but he has changed this season, he has more confidence and his quality is coming out now.”