He heads to Sha Tin on Sunday with the task of ensuring Charity Fun a spot in this year’s BMW Hong Kong Derby but Karis Teetan has already locked in a ride that he’s confident will give him his best chance yet of winning the city’s most prestigious race.
After partnering Lucky Express in the first two legs of the four-year-old series, Teetan jumped at the chance to snare the ride aboard Russian Emperor after the Irish import’s barnstorming Classic Cup second as an $80 outsider last weekend.
The son of Galileo, who was trainer by Aidan O’Brien in Ireland, looks poised to relish the step-up to the 2,000m of the Derby after finishing seventh as a $7 chance in last year’s Epsom Derby (2,405m).
Healthy Happy makes all under @AlexisBadel to secure the second leg of the #4YOSeries, the HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Cup for @FCLOR_RACING ahead of the fast-finishing Russian Emperor! #HKracing pic.twitter.com/jUtrBCds7n— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 21, 2021
Teetan will be competing in his sixth Hong Kong Derby and believes he is well-placed to outdo his previous best of eighth aboard Amazing Beats last year and Thunder Fantasy in 2015 in a race that won’t see overseas guns for hire jet in.
“I would say he is [one of my best Derby rides], this season is very open. It’s one of the biggest races in Hong Kong and everyone wants to win it, so you need to have the right horse and it’s taken me a while,” Teetan said.
“Russian Emperor’s run last time was very solid and the way he quickened late showed that he’s improved at the right time, which is why I made the decision to commit to him.”
All going well this weekend, one of Russian Emperor’s opponents will be the Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained Charity Fun, who is looking to win his way into the Derby in the Class Three Tai Po Kau Handicap (1,800m).
The gelding has made a strong start to life in Hong Kong after beginning his career in Ireland, finishing fourth on debut before producing a scintillating four-length victory over 2,200m at Happy Valley on February 17.
Shum and Teetan were under instructions from connections to win by as far as possible on that occasion in a bid to boost Charity Fun’s rating and the ensuing 10-point penalty leaves him on a mark of 78.
Another win should position the son of War Command safely in the field for next month’s race and Teetan is confident the step back to 1,800m and the move to Sha Tin should pose no problems.
“It’s going to be a different game going to Sha Tin for the first time and he’s got an outside gate that he’s going to have to deal with, but he’s an improving horse and he’s got lots of ability,” the Mauritian jockey said.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how he handles the track compared to Happy Valley. He’s trialled at the track so I don’t think it will be a problem.
“He won pretty well last time but the run suited him and he did no work. I think he’s an up-and-coming horse and if can win well he should get his chance in the Derby.”
Teetan has secured a full book of rides for Sunday’s meeting, also jumping aboard last-start winner Ultra Express and the consistent Keep You Warm, who tackles exciting youngster Fantastic Way in the Class Three Pat Sin Leng Handicap (1,200m).
“He’s been running well for the whole season, of course Fantastic Way looks strong but Keep You Warm is working well and he’s in good shape,” Teetan said.