Karis Teetan could hardly wipe the smile off his face following his first piece of work on boom speedster Aethero on Tuesday morning.
Teetan will ride the John Moore-trained three-year-old in Sunday week’s Group Two Jockey Club Sprint (1,200m) in what shapes as one of the races of the season.
Jockey Zac Purton had first right of refusal aboard Aethero but connections had to make a switch given the Australian can’t make the weight of 113 pounds which is afforded to southern hemisphere-bred three-year-olds in the feature.
Aethero underwent his final piece of serious work in the lead-up to what will be his biggest test yet on Tuesday morning, winning a barrier trial up the Sha Tin straight comfortably.
“As soon as you jump on him, he gives you the feel of a good horse, he reminded me a bit of Able Friend so let’s hope I can do well on him,” Teetan said in a glowing endorsement. “It was nice to sit on him, it was my first time and he gave me a really good feel.
“John just wanted the horse to have a nice, easy trial so I just let him work through his gears to get him ready for next week.”
Moore, who is expected to be forced to run stablemate Thanks Forever in the Jockey Club Sprint, said he did not believe he was throwing Aethero “into the deep end” by chasing next month’s Group One Hong Kong Sprint.
“If he can jump cleanly and dictate or even sit outside the leader, he is going to be very hard to beat, even off his 102 rating against ones off 120,” he said. “I am full of confidence that he is going to be a big chance.”
Moore said with a rating of 102, Aethero was now at the mercy of the tight Hong Kong racing programme.
“In other countries I would have run him in other races leading into the Group Two, I would have had him in a Listed race – it would have been different in a country where the programme offered more lead-up races, rather than going straight in against the very best,” he said.
“It’s not ideal but I am not making excuses, it is where we have to go and he has to prove himself on the big stage.”
Meanwhile, trainer Paul O’Sullivan confirmed he will forge ahead with his sprint plans for the enigmatic Pakistan Star, who was nominated for all three of the Group Twos on November 17 – the Sprint (1,200m), Mile (1,600m) and Cup (2,000m).
Jockey Blake Shinn will ride the former internet sensation who continues to tease punters on the track.
After riding Pakistan Star last star, jockey Zac Purton will ride the unbeaten Regency Legend, who was given a quiet trial at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning.