Life in the Hong Kong racing bubble has been anything but normal of late but Karis Teetan says the recent uncertainty caused by the coronavirus has had little impact on how he goes about his business as a jockey.
Sunday’s Sha Tin card was in limbo until the morning of the meeting as the Jockey Club waited for approval to race from the government, and talk of the sport being suspended in Hong Kong – like it has in so many other countries – has lingered for months now.
But for Teetan, he’s just thankful to be able to continue racing and says it has been largely business as usual for him.
“It hasn’t gone through my mind at all that racing might be cancelled, I still get ready and study the races as normal,” he said.
“Even if there’s no crowd or no owners, it’s still a normal day for us – still we need to get on a horse and our main goal is to go out and try to win the race.”
There was one occasion where the chaos caught up with Teetan, with the Mauritian isolated from his fellow jockeys during a Happy Valley meeting two weeks ago after holidaying in Dubai during a suspension.
“That was a bit weird, I would not want to do it all the time,” said Teetan, adding that he would of course do whatever was necessary to ensure racing continues.
“It was very quiet there by myself, it’s nice to be around the other guys and to get that feeling you get when you’re in the jockeys’ room.
“It’s nice to hear everybody complaining when they come back and all the little things that happen in the jockeys’ room.”
Teetan has a handy book of seven rides for this Wednesday’s meeting – an all-dirt affair at Sha Tin – as he looks to add to his 50 winners so far this term.
Mongolian King returns to Class Two for the Cheung Sha Handicap (1,650m) and will carry 118 pounds from gate five.
The Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained seven-year-old finished second in his first attempt at the course and distance last start, albeit in Class Three.
“His last run was a good run with a heavy weight, of course now he goes into Class Two again but he’ll have a much lighter weight to carry and he has a nice draw too,” Teetan said.
“He seemed to handle the dirt last time and Me’s horses always do well on the dirt, so I’m pretty confident he’ll put in a good run again.”
Teetan partners another in-form horse down in the weights in the Class Four Pui O Handicap (1,650m), with Super Red Dragon also up in class after two consecutive placings over the extended dirt mile.
The Chris So Wai-yin-trained four-year-old met some trouble in the run from barrier 11 last time out, but Teetan is confident it will be a different story from gate two on Wednesday night.
“Last time he got stuck behind a few slow horses and that did not help him from his bad gate, but this time from a low gate with a small weight he should give himself a chance,” the jockey said.
Teetan also rides Charitydream for So, as well as General Trump (Benno Yung Tin-pang), Happy Winner (Michael Chang Chun-wai), Goldie Flanker (Manfred Man Ka-leung) and Enfolding (Caspar Fownes).