It is not an impossible task but Karis Teetan will need everything to go his way at Happy Valley on Wednesday night if he is to dislodge Alexis Badel from the final available slot for next month’s Longines International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC).
Technically there are still two spots up for grabs, but Matthew Chadwick would need five winners from six rides to unseat Vincent Ho Chak-yiu as the leading home-grown jockey and that’s not going to happen, so let’s focus on the one that is actually in play.
The Mauritian, who won the IJC in 2019, needs to finish the night with three more winners than the Frenchman if he is to extend his streak of appearances in the lucrative contest to five.
Teetan has 15 winners so far this term compared to Badel’s 18, but the former has more seconds (25 to 12), giving him the edge if things are tied by the end of the night.
Trebles are tough to achieve in Hong Kong (for anyone not named Zac Purton or Joao Moreira) given the level of competition, but it’s certainly not beyond Teetan, who has already collected two Happy Valley quartets in 2021.
The first of those four-timers included the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained Keep You Warm, who looks the stand-out ride of his seven on the eight-race card with the talented four-year-old stepping out in the Class Two Bruntsfield Handicap (1,200m).
The son of No Nay Never was dominant when winning first-up and certainly looks to have more upside, but the race is a hot one.
John Size’s trio of Sight Success, Drops Of God and Scores Of Fun have to be respected, as do Harmony Fire and Winning Method, alongside Badel’s mount Transcendent.
Teetan also jumps aboard another last-start winner in Danny Shum Chap-shing’s Romantic Combo, who appears to be one of the leading hopes in the Class Three Inverleith Park Handicap (1,650m).
The four-year-old appreciated the switch back to the extended mile at the city circuit last start and he returns to the same course and distance for this assignment.
Romantic Combo will have to handle a step up in grade but has a light weight (117 pounds) and good draw (three) to help offset that.
Badel partners Lui’s Cheerful Days in that contest – the five-year-old is chasing a hat-trick of wins and is probably the Frenchman’s best of his six rides – while Everyone’s Delight and Toronado Phantom should also be thereabouts.
Teetan will be hoping to kick the night off on a winning note aboard Size’s Seizing The Moment, who caught the eye in his Hong Kong debut earlier this month.
The five-year-old won two of his three races in New Zealand when known as Dark Alley and hit the line nicely when fourth to Cordyceps Six with Nervous Witness a half-length in front of him in third.
With We The South and Brilliant Fortune also in the Class Three Colinton Handicap (1,000m), there should be sufficient speed for him to show his wares again.
King Dragon, Nitro Express, More Than Enough and Star Of Wuyi round out Teetan’s rides and all of them have each-way hopes.
In any case, by the end of the night we’ll know who joins Purton, Moreira and Ho in representing Hong Kong against some of the best riders from around the globe in the IJC.