Computer Patch was utterly dominant in last season’s Group Three National Day Cup (1,000m) and while Karis Teetan is optimistic the sprinter can defend his title, he knows it will be a tougher task on Friday.
After easily accounting for six rivals 12 months ago, there is much more depth among a full field of 14 (plus a standby starter in Lucky More) assembled for this edition of the Sha Tin feature.
That was Computer Patch’s only win for the campaign, but that probably undersells him because he was a consistent performer in high-class races, never finishing worse than sixth while securing seconds in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize, the Premier Bowl and the Jockey Club Sprint (both Group Two level).
The key for this assignment might be the step back to 1,000m with the Tony Cruz-trained son of Exceed And Excel boasting a strong record of two wins from three starts down the Sha Tin straight.
“Being a five-year-old I think will be better for him. I rode him early last season and it felt like he would always improve later on. He had a nice trial in Conghua and he’s got experience over 1,000m – he won this race last year – so I’m looking forward to it,” Teetan said.
“From barrier six, I think we’ll just ride him where he’s comfortable. He does carry more weight than last time but if we get a good run I think he should still finish off strongly.”
Teetan thinks Computer Patch’s biggest challengers look to be the Caspar Fownes-trained Sky Field, David Hayes’ Super Wealthy and Stronger, from the Douglas Whyte stable.
“Stronger looks a big danger, he’s got a beautiful draw and he’s been trialling well,” the Mauritian said.
“We’ve got to respect Sky Field, it might be a bit short for him. And down the bottom of the weights, Super Wealthy won really well last time and it looks like the 1,000m should suit him.
“But I’m not too worried about anything else, I’m just going to ride my horse like he needs to be ridden and hopefully he can do well.”
Computer Patch is one of four rides Teetan has for the Cruz stable on Friday, including Californiadeepshot in the Class Two Beijing Handicap (1,400m) and The Golden Scenery in the Class Three Tianjin Handicap (1,200m).
“Californiadeepshot is a nice pickup ride for me, of course Joao [Moreira] won on him last time out, and I’m happy to be on. He trialled well a few days ago for me so we know he’s in good shape,” he said.
“The Golden Scenery drops back to 1,200m now and he looks like a promising horse so I’ve got a few nice rides and just need things to go my way.”
Teetan sits fourth on the championship table after seven meetings with five winners but has been a touch unlucky with 13 seconds – three more than any other jockey.
“It’s pretty crazy with all these seconds but this is Hong Kong,” he said. “It goes like that sometimes and you just need to push through it.”