Champion’s Way chases back-to-back victories in Saturday’s Group Three Chinese Club Challenge Cup (1,400m) and Karis Teetan believes the John Size-trained six-year-old has the quality to again be right in the finish.
After travelling last under Teetan off a decent early speed 12 months ago, Champion’s Way hardly went around a horse as he raced to victory with just 118 pounds on his back, defeating subsequent Hong Kong Derby winner Sky Darci – who was having his first Group outing – as well as the honest Mighty Giant.
That victory was the son of Hinchinbrook’s only success since June 2019 and if he is to repeat the dose this weekend he will have to overcome the top weight of 133 pounds against stablemates Lucky Express and Excellent Proposal, as well as the likes of Duke Wai and Healthy Happy.
“His trial was nice, he showed some more interest in his work in his trial so that is a good sign already,” Teetan said of Champion’s Way, who jumps from the inside barrier in the seven-horse field.
The Chinese Club Challenge— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) January 1, 2021
1400m , 3.500.000 HKD, for 4yo+
Champion's Way (AUS)
(5G Hichinbrook - Greta's Yarn, by Redoute's Choice)
J : K. Teetan
T :J. Size
O : Dr & Mrs Arthur Leung, Elaine Leung and Angela Leung
B : G Bunt, NSW pic.twitter.com/GfbUk19oEJ
“He’s got the quality to win a race like this again. I think he can carry the weight, this is the kind of race where he gets his chance to win.
“Of course compared to last year the weight is a lot more but I think if he gets the right run from a good draw I think he can be competitive.”
Lucky Express (Antoine Hamelin) and Excellent Proposal (Joao Moreira) were the last two horses home behind Golden Sixty in the Hong Kong Mile on December 12 and the latter will return to 1,400m looking to reboot before tackling the reigning Horse of the Year again in the Group One Stewards’ Cup (1,600m) on January 23.
Lucky Express steps back to what looks to be his preferred trip and he will be looking for a repeat of the performance that saw him win the Class One Panasonic Cup at the course and distance in November.
Healthy Happy was also entered for the Hong Kong Mile but trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen opted against throwing his five-year-old in the deep end in his first run since June.
Now with three trials under his belt, last season’s Classic Cup (1,800m) winner looks far better placed to resume but is expected to need the run under regular jockey Alexis Badel as he too plots a course towards the Stewards’ Cup in a few weeks.
Jerry Chau Chun-lok retains the ride on Paul O’Sullivan’s consistent galloper Duke Wai, who has twice been competitive at Group level this season, while the David Hayes-trained Master Montaro (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) steps up to open company for the first time. Tony Cruz’s front runner Buddies (Matthew Chadwick) rounds out the field.
Teetan jumps aboard the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Voyage Warrior in the day’s other Group Three, the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m).
“He has been a bit disappointing compared to what we thought he would become but I am getting back on him after a long time so I hope he can do well with a return to the Sha Tin 1,000m,” said the Mauritian.