Jockey Karis Teetan admits he is jumping off a smart horse in Multimillion but is happy to roll the dice on the untested Meridian Genius in a race which will showcase Hong Kong’s next generation of sprinters.
Teetan has partnered the Tony Cruz-trained Multimillion to a win and a second in his two starts, but will trying to get the four-year-old beaten on Sunday.
Having only had one trial in his career, Teetan concedes he is stepping into the unknown with Meridian Genius, but his ability was there for all to see when he charged away to win by three-and-a-quarter lengths in good time on the Sha Tin turf last month.
Meridian Genius will meet a host of other first starters in the Class Four Lukfook Jewellery Love Is Beauty Collection Handicap (1,000m), which will make it difficult for punters to line up the form going into the race.
“He is a little bit speedy, he has shown that in a trial, it feels like he might come to hand pretty quickly,” Teetan said.
“I was booked in advance for the horse I am on, I was not able to get off for Multimillion, that’s just the way it is.
“Saying that, I am pretty happy with my horse and I will just go out there and do what I can do.”
A win for Teetan would also bring trainer Tony Millard’s 600th Hong Kong win, a milestone the Mauritian said he would love to achieve for the South African trainer.
“He has been giving me some nice rides this season, which really helps a lot, there is a big number coming up for him so if I was able to get a win for him, it would mean a lot,” he said.
“Tony has been supporting me for a long time now, since I have been here and I really appreciate his support.”
With Cruz’s Multimillion forced to carry the top weight of 133 pounds, the premiership-leading trainer has opted for the three-pound claim from local jockey Matthew Poon Ming-fai who is enjoying his best season in Hong Kong so far.
Champion jockey Zac Purton will ride Dennis Yip Chor-hong’s first starter Glenealy Generals who has had three trial hit-outs before his debut.
Meridian Genius is just one of three first starters that Teetan will ride on Sunday, where he will team up again with Millard with Ezra in the Class Four Lukfook Jewellery Wedding Collection Handicap (1,200m) along with Cruz on the highly touted King of Hearts in the Class Two Lukfook Jewellery Cup (1,400m).
Teetan said Ezra was hard to gauge after his two trials, where he was able to run on from the back of the field.
“I think he is still a very unexperienced horse, I think we have to put him in a race to see what he is going to be able to do,” he said.
“He is difficult because he hasn’t been pushed, he is a promising horse and after the first run we will know more about him.”
Despite still being a colt, Teetan said the three-year-old did not display any difficult traits.
“He’s pretty quiet, he’s got a nice temperament, he’s doing everything good so we feel like he is ready to win races,” he said.
With European import King Of Hearts aimed at the upcoming four-year-old series, the Hong Kong debutant will have his work cut out for him, despite boating a five wins from seven starts record in the UK.
The 88-rater will line up against the likes of seasoned gallopers Conte, World Record and Citron Spirit in what shapes as the race of the day.