Karis Teetan collected the third quartet of his Hong Kong career and notched a half-century of winners for the season in the process as he dominated the midweek meeting at Happy Valley.
After flying out of the blocks at the start of the campaign, the Mauritian has just been ticking over so far this year, but he was back to his best on Thursday night.
Teetan guided Manna From Heaven, Keep You Warm, Vigor Champ and Telecom Fighters to victory to complete the four-timer, a feat he had previously achieved only twice before in his eight seasons in the city, first on February 24, 2016 and more recently on June 14 last year.
While it wasn’t his best-ever haul – he also has two quintets – he was delighted with the results, finishing the night with 52 winners to his name.
“It turned out to be a great night for me,” said Teetan, who finished third in the championship last season with 93 winners.
“You always come to the races and try to be positive. I thought I had some OK rides but I must say all the horses I rode tonight were all well prepared. My only concern was that some of them were drawn outside. I thought if I could overcome those draws, they could be competitive.
“Things change pretty quick in Hong Kong, but I don’t focus on what I did last season – I just want to do better. I just want to ride as many winners as I can. I appreciate all the support I get from the owners and trainers.
“I’ve just been working very hard this season, sometimes things go up and down but you just have to keep going and keep working hard and try to ride winners.”
Three of the four – the Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained Manna From Heaven, Francis Lui Kin-wai’s Keep You Warm and Me Tsui Yu-sak’s Telecom Fighter broke their Hong Kong maidens while the other, Vigor Champ from the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai stable, snared the second win of his career.
Of the four, Keep You Warm was the most impressive and Lui is hopeful that after finding the winner’s circle at start 16, the European import might be able to string a couple together.
“This horse is very fit and last start he was beaten by a good horse [Courier Wonder]. That was at Sha Tin over 1,200m and back at Happy Valley over 1,000m suited him. When he was travelling around the bend he was able to take a breath and that helped him finish the race off,” Lui said.
“Hopefully he can take some confidence from that and win again.”
It completed a double for the in-form trainer, who also tasted success in the night’s feature, the Class Two Clementi Handicap (1,000m) with Massive Pocket.
There were basically six across the track in the early stages and they set a furious tempo, which allowed the three backmarkers to rattle over the top and fill the first three placings.
Lui felt it played right into Massive Pocket’s hands.
“He likes it here and he likes the fast pace,” he said. “In Class Two, there are not many options at Happy Valley, so we just have to take what we’re given. He’s better over 1,000m but he can do 1,200m if there is a fast pace.”
Teetan and Lui were the only people to walk away with multiple winners on a night when most people kept a close eye on the horses that were meant to be ridden by Neil Callan.
The Irishman was suspended for the rest of the season by the Jockey Club’s licensing committee on Wednesday for his conduct during a stewards’ inquiry on February 3.
Callan was booked for five rides before being stood down, but none of them won with California Concord the only one to finish in the placings, coming second to Wine And Wine in the Class Three Creasy Handicap (1,200m).
But that is likely to be only a small consolation after being handed such a severe penalty.