In-form jockey Karis Teetan has been forced to decide between two of Hong Kong’s hottest sprinters with the feature races just around the corner.
The embarrassment of riches has seen Teetan side with proven Group One winner Mr Stunning over up-and-coming star Hot King Prawn due to a prior commitment to trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen and owners before Joao Moreira’s departure.
A strong trial on Tuesday morning at Sha Tin reaffirmed Teetan’s decision after the six-year-old coasted to an easy victory, showing he was on track for what is set to be a blockbuster meeting on October 21.
Last season’s Hong Kong Sprint winner was the first to jump in the field which included the promising Conte and was not pressured once over the 1,050m trip.
“He did a little bit more than last time, it was not a big trial but he came out pretty good which is normal for him,” Teetan said of the all-weather track hit-out.
“He got himself to the front, he needed to get his legs stretched a little bit before this good race coming up so I was pretty happy.”
Teetan said he refused to go back on his word after he committed to the ride last season when he struck up a relationship with owner Maurice Koo Win-chong, who also races Morethanlucky in the same colours, a horse which Teetan won on last Sunday.
The departure of Moreira also caught Teetan off guard, who was expecting the Magic Man to have first preference to a number of top-line horses.
“It’s difficult because before anything happened I was already asked to ride this horse, towards the end of last season,” he said.
“I was focusing on this one because I didn’t know that Joao was going to leave.
“I thought Zac [Purton] was going to ride Ivictory, Joao on Beat The Clock and the other sprinter to hook on could be this horse.
“I had already committed myself from the beginning and when I came back they said to me I can ride him.”
Despite the turbulent jockey landscape, Teetan, who is fresh off a career-best quintet of winners on Sunday, said he is more than happy with his decision to ride Mr Stunning, a horse he feels is underrated despite his Group One victory.
“The last run he ran behind Ivictory of course but to be honest I am very happy to be on him,” he said.
“He is one of the best sprinters in Hong Kong, I have no question marks that he’s not going to be able to keep going.
“Of course, he’s gone from John [Size] to Frankie but he is a very good horse and he’s doing very well.
“We all have to deal with these things, I was committed to riding this horse, you can see, I trialled him before Hot King Prawn.”
With Teetan choosing Mr Stunning, it opens up a spot on Hot King Prawn given they are scheduled to meet in the Group Two Premier Bowl (1,200m) later this month.
Purton is locked into Ivictory, but there are a host of opportunities aboard Size’s top-rated speedsters with the likes of D B Pin and Beat The Clock also up for grabs.