Up-and-coming sprinter Hot King Prawn faces his biggest challenge so far in Monday’s Group Three National Day Cup (1,000m) and jockey Karis Teetan feels he is ready to match it with the “really good horses”.
A winner of six of sevens starts – and two from three in Class Two – the John Size-trained four-year-old will measure himself against the likes of Group One winner Ivictory as he makes the step up.
“Hot King Prawn is a very good horse, his trial was very good and he’s got lots of speed. It’s a big step for him to go against the really good horses but I think he can do it,” said Teetan, who replaces Zac Purton in the saddle.
“He’s won a good few times down the straight so that’s his game, he loves that. Going into the race with that light weight [117 pounds], I think he can be very competitive.”
Teetan himself is also looking to take a step up this season and you could sense the Mauritian’s excitement as he spoke about the increased opportunities he’s receiving.
“It’s nice to get some good opportunity. For the last few years I’ve been warming the saddle for Joao [Moreira], so it’s nice to be able to get on the big horses and it’s a completely different feeling. It builds your confidence and makes you want to work harder and ride more winners,” he said.
“I’ve got myself into a few nice stables and getting some chances and I really hope it just keeps rolling from here.”
Teetan jumps aboard another Size runner – Nothingilikemore – in the Group Three Celebration Cup (1,400m) and expects the five-year-old to be finishing off well at what looks his ideal distance.
“He feels very fresh, I think he’s not at his peak yet but he’s going very well and he gives me a really good feeling,” Teetan said.
“He goes in with a light weight [119 pounds] and there could be some speed in the race. There are a few horses that have speed on his outside and one or two inside so the speed will be on and with that weight on his back, if they go a decent speed, I’m pretty sure he’s going to let down in the straight.”
Reigning Horse of the Year Beauty Generation and fellow Group One winner Seasons Bloom stand in Nothingilikemore’s way, as well as a three-pronged attacked from the Tony Cruz yard of Beauty Only, California Whip and Romanic Touch.
“Beauty Only is the best chance even though he has got a top weight. He’s come right this year, hopefully he will perform better than last year,” said Cruz.
Cruz also has opening-day Class One victor Winner’s Way in the National Day Cup and says if the horse continues to improve he could be on track for December’s international races.
“It’s too short for him but the last 200m he’ll kick on very strong, maybe get a place,” Cruz said of Winner’s Way, who took out the Group Three Sha Tin Vase over 1,200m in May.
“He’s got such a high rating now so there is nowhere else to go but the international sprint race.”