Consistent jockey Karis Teetan has spent the past two meetings watching from the sidelines due to suspension, but the Mauritian reckons it felt more like two months.
Such is the enclosed nature of Hong Kong racing, Teetan has watched on from his balcony as horses he would have ridden went on to win.
While time on the sidelines is costly for jockeys, Teetan is attempting to find the silver lining, saying he has returned hungrier than ever.
With top jockey Zac Purton still rubbed out along with the likes of Chad Schofield and Grant van Niekerk, Teetan has the perfect meeting to return to, picking up a host of winning chances.
“I have been off for two meetings, it feels more like two months at the moment,” Teetan said.
“It is so hard here because you always see the horses, you are keeping in touch on WhatsApp and then when there is racing on you see horses that you should have been riding.
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“I think it is a good thing sometimes because it makes you want to do better, you come back that bit hungrier.
“It is not nice to get the suspension but sometimes there is some good things behind it, I just need to stay out of the stewards’ room now and try to ride more winners.”
With horses to trial ahead of next weekend’s Hong Kong International Races, Teetan said he opted not to travel overseas during his suspension.
“I did not want to go away this time because a lot of the horses I am going to be riding on international day were trialling so I stayed here,” he said.
Teetan will ride Coby Oppa in the Class Three Nathan Handicap (1,650m), where he is hoping for improvement from the four-year-old dirt specialist.
The Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained galloper stepped up to the mile for the first time three weeks ago and looked set to win before shying away in the shadows of the post.
“I actually think he should have won last time, he cost himself the race,” Teetan said.
“He is a bit of a chicken of a horse, he is very scared of things which is why we put the side blinkers on him.
“I took the inside run, we got through there then he saw the big screen and I could feel him, he wasn’t running forward, he wanted to go sideways and I had to stop riding him just before the line when they went past me.
“I think he could have won if he ran straight so I am hoping he has learned from that experience.”
Coby Oppa is just one of 10 rides for Teetan on the day which sees six all-weather track races as the Jockey Club look to preserve the Sha Tin turf for next week’s feature meeting.
Currently third on the jockeys’ championship, Teetan is having to fend off challenges from the likes of Vincent Ho Chak-yiu and Van Niekerk.
Another proven dirt horse, Winner Supreme represents one of Teetan’s best winning chances on the day.
The four-year-old is looking for back-to-back wins in the Class Two Mody Handicap (1,200m).
Me Tsui Yu-sak’s charge easily won in Class Three company last start but will find it harder to get it all his own way on Sunday when stepping up in class.