Californiadeepshot could not have been more impressive when winning his Hong Kong debut and jockey Karis Teetan thinks there is still plenty of upside.
The Tony Cruz-trained colt boasted a two-from-two record in Australia before coming out and saluting at Happy Valley last month.
By winning on debut in Hong Kong as a previously raced horse, Californiadeepshot marked himself as above average with less than four per cent of raced horses winning first-up in the jurisdiction. Last season, just six from 177 managed to achieve the feat.
“Before his first run he did put in some nice trials so I was pretty confident that he was going to do pretty well in his first start,” Teetan said.
“He was pretty impressive really, I think there is some quality about him.”
Off a rating of 70, Californiadeepshot was forced to do it the hard way from barrier 12 over 1,200m at the tricky city circuit.
Teetan jumped quickly, found the lead and was never headed, running away to comfortably win.
“From the wide draw, to get his first win like that, it shows he’s something decent,” Teetan said.
“He actually took everything pretty well, I was surprised with how quiet he was on race day, especially going down to the start, his behaviour was pretty good.
“Also I think it helps when the horse has been there for a trial.”
With a nine-point rating increase, the three-year-old will carry the top weight on Wednesday night in the Class Three Fo Tan Handicap (1,200m).
He is again forced to jump from barrier 12 and Teetan knows he is unlikely to get it all his own way this time out.
“There is a bit of speed on my inside. I don’t know how fast he’ll be now that it is a different situation, he is going up in the weights, there are stronger horses in this race,” he said.
“He’s learning very nicely and I’m looking forward to having him run again.
“Last time you could see how quickly he got to the front so he is going to have to use that natural speed to get across. I am going to have to ride him very positively again, let him use his speed and get him into a comfortable position so he can finish off.”
Teetan chose Californiadeepshot over Francis Lui Kin-wai’s Victory In Hand, who is attempting a hat-trick of wins at the city track.
The Mauritian has ridden the improved four-year-old in both of his recent wins, but Lui admits it will be a tough ask to bring down Californiadeepshot.
“Karis is riding Tony Cruz’s horse, I planned to always run in this race so we went with it, [but Teetan] thinks that horse is better,” he said.
Other in-form gallopers Green Reign, Shouson and What A Legend are also in the race.