James McDonald will ride Romantic Warrior at the Hong Kong International Races as Karis Teetan continues his recovery from a thyroid condition.
Teetan, who partnered Romantic Warrior to Hong Kong Derby success last season, has been sidelined since September 18 with the ailment, the symptoms of which include a high heart rate and muscle weakness.
Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding confirmed Teetan, who is currently holidaying in Thailand with his family, “is continuing to receive treatment [and] it seems likely that it will be several more months before he could resume riding”.
That means Teetan will miss at least Romantic Warrior’s next two runs, with the in-form James McDonald to ride the four-year-old in the Group Two Jockey Club Mile on November 20 and next month’s Group One Hong Kong Cup (2,000m).
Shum confirmed the ride aboard Romantic Warrior is still Teetan’s when he does return to the saddle after the pair also combined to win last season’s Classic Mile and Group One QEII Cup (2,000m).
McDonald, who rode eight winners during his dominant Melbourne Cup Carnival, will also ride the David Hayes-trained Super Wealthy on November 20, piloting the last-start Group Three winner in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint (1,200m).
Treble surprises So
It was a pleasantly surprised Chris So Wai-yin who walked away from Sha Tin on Sunday with his first treble in over four years, and rightly so.
An all-up wager on winners Smart Leader ($2.4), Flying High ($20) and Young Victory ($16.65) would have paid 798-1, and So could have been forgiven for thinking his time in the winner’s circle was over after Smart Leader’s victory as favourite in the opening event.
“To have three winners today, I’m a bit surprised. It feels good, of course, and I’m very happy. The training ranks are very competitive, but I’m not going too bad,” said So, whose haul moved him to nine winners for the season and within five of premiership leader Tony Cruz.
After Smart Leader took out the Class Five L’Oreal Paris Handicap (1,200m) under Zac Purton to get So rolling, the affable handler was back in the action only two races later thanks to the victory of Flying High in the Class Four Kate Tokyo Handicap (1,000m).
With debutants Allgreektome ($1.6) and Baby Crystal ($5) one and two in the market, Flying High was a significant drifter in the final minutes of betting.
It did not bother the five-year-old, however, who travelled forward of midfield under Matthew Chadwick before finding late to grab Baby Crystal on the line and break his Hong Kong maiden at start 19.
“The horse has a very short dash, that’s why I think Matthew is a very good jockey,” So said of Flying High.
“And I need to say thank-you to the owner for his patience. The horse, I cannot say he has been a disappointment, but he is just limited.
“We tried to put him on the dirt, but he ran no good. He needs cover, wait until the last 200m, and come out and hit the line.
“I wasn’t confident – John Size’s horse [Baby Crystal] looked good, David Hayes’ horse [Allgreektome] looked good – and the odds already told everyone there was no confidence.”
Chris So is on FIRE! 🔥🔥 The handler seals a treble from the first four races as Young Victory collects his second win for the HKJC Racing Club Limited. @angusylchung | #SaSaLPDay | #HKracing pic.twitter.com/HxtzckDo87— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 6, 2022
So’s first treble since June 2018 was in the bag after just four races, with Young Victory completing the smash-and-grab job in the Class Four Canmake Tokyo Handicap (1,400m).
The lightest horse in the field at 1,087 pounds, Young Victory looked to enjoy Angus Chung Yik-lai’s 10-pound claim in a race where he travelled one off the fence ahead of midfield and outpointed his rivals in the straight.
“He’s healthy, but he’s always skinny and when I push him, he always loses weight,” So said of Young Victory, whose two wins have come over the Sha Tin 1,400m.
“I think that’s why sometimes he doesn’t perform. Of course, the horse can win in this class, but I wasn’t overly confident.
“We had the advantage because we had Angus’ 10-pound claim. He rides well and the 10-point difference was the key. In the early section they went fast, which was good for us.”
Lor finds a Pal
Frankie Lor Fu-chuen hopes A Pal can carry the colours of 2019 Hong Kong Derby winner Furore into another four-year-old series after the smart import opened his account on Sunday.
While A Pal has a long way to go to reach the heights of Furore, who banked over HK$36 million in prize money across his 22-start Hong Kong career, Lor hopes connections will again get to feel the excitement of taking part in the Classic Series.
This is impressive! 🔥— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 6, 2022
A Pal is not for catching as he devastates rivals for Derek Leung and Frankie Lor, securing a first win in Hong Kong after once winning in Australia.@FCLOR_RACING | #SaSaLPDay | #HKracing pic.twitter.com/P2ZY20QqLX
“His rating today was 66, so maybe he might get 10 points, but he would still need to win again to get into the four-year-old series,” Lor said. “He’s a nice horse, but he still needs to relax more.”
Sent off a $2.75 favourite for his third Hong Kong start, A Pal went one better than his last-start second to post a commanding three-length victory in the Class Three Eleanor Handicap (1,400m).
Positioned perfectly behind leader Private Rocket by Derek Leung Ka-chun, A Pal got a saloon passage up the rail in the home straight to produce a win that suggests the son of More Than Ready – who won once from four pre-import starts in Australia – has got more to give.