Karis Teetan’s winners for John Size have been few and far between of late but the Mauritian delivered for the master trainer at Sha Tin on Sunday and is hopeful the smart Lucky Express can provide the pair with plenty more success.
It was Teetan’s first ride for Size this season and the victory followed only three others for the duo across the last two terms.
While Joao Moreira traditionally has right of first refusal for Size gallopers and had been aboard Lucky Express at its past two starts, the Brazilian partnered Good Luck Friend in the Class Two Hwamei Handicap (1,200m) and Teetan was delighted to fill the void.
“When I got offered the ride I confirmed it without having to think,” Teetan said. “It’s nice of John and his owners to give me a chance because horses like that, it’s hard for them to choose a jockey if Joao cannot ride it. For them to think about me and give me an opportunity is good.
“I thought he would improve this season, his wins in Australia were pretty impressive and he won like that today. I’m happy to be on him and I hope I can stay on him in the future.”
After impressing with two wins as a two-year-old when named Prince Of Sussex and trained by Matt Laurie in Australia, Lucky Express finished third in both starts during his maiden Hong Kong campaign.
He returned bigger and better as a four-year-old on Sunday, mowing down his rivals after travelling near the back of the field.
“I gave him an easy three-year-old season – I didn’t want to push him. I know he raced as a two-year-old but when he came here it was a little bit tough for him so I didn’t want to run him too much as a three-year-old, just a couple at the end of the season,” Size said.
“He appreciated the break, he looks a little bit healthier, a little bit stronger and he raced well. We saw what he did as a two-year-old and he replicated that today so I think we’re on the way.”
While the spruik that followed Lucky Express to Hong Kong saw the galloper start a short favourite in both starts last season, he was sent out a $5.80 third elect on Sunday but appreciated a few tweaks from Size – including the addition of a tongue tie and ear plugs.
“There were probably a few little adjustments, a little bit with the gear and we had to ride him a little bit quieter and away he went,” Size said. “Today was actually what we were hoping he would do eventually.”
The notoriously patient Size wont be changing his approach for Lucky Express, suggesting his graduation to Group company will come “later rather than sooner”.
“I’m hoping he can get to [a rating of 100] and then we’ll see where he goes from there. We’ll give him a nice four-year-old season and when he’s five – everything’s got to go perfectly and then he’ll be tough enough,” he said.
“It looks like [1,200m is his distance] but I’ll try him at 1,400m – there’s no need to fool around too much at the moment.”
Teetan continued his impressive start to the season, also saluting with California Concord and Big Fortune to move into outright second in the jockeys’ premiership on 11 winners – four behind the Moreira.
“It’s nice to have a treble but it’s a long season so I’ll just keep working hard to get the best rides I can,” he said.