Last season’s Hong Kong Derby-winning jockey Karis Teetan is leaning towards riding Classic Cup fifth Flagship Warrior in this term’s HK$24 million feature, but the outcome of Sunday’s Class Three Suffolk Handicap (1,600m) at Sha Tin could change the Mauritian’s mind at the last minute.
Teetan, who hopes to join the likes of Gary Moore (1980 and 1981), Tony Cruz (1987 and 1988) and Douglas Whyte (2012 and 2013) as jockeys who have ridden Derby winners in back-to-back years, partners the Suffolk Handicap’s top weight, Alacrity, from barrier 13 on his second outing in Hong Kong.
A Group One winner over 2,000m on his last start in Chile before he joined the Jamie Richards team in Hong Kong, Alacrity went into the black books of many punters after his city debut in which the times of his final two 400m sections were the fastest of the event that Derby favourite Beauty Eternal won.
“I wasn’t surprised he ran well because I trialled him at Happy Valley and he gave me a nice feel,” Teetan said of Alacrity, who also began from gate 13 three weeks ago. “We were all happy with his first run. It was nice to see a horse finish off his race like that. It showed there’s improvement coming.
“He’s a horse who’ll need ground. He’s not a fast horse. From his draw last time, we didn’t want to chase him out of the gates anyway, so we let him come out and sit behind. That was our plan last time.
“We don’t have many options from his draw this time, but it’s very important we make sure the horse runs very well. He’s definitely a Derby horse – 100 per cent. The further he goes, the better he’ll get.
“On Flagship Warrior’s run last time, I have to stick with Flagship Warrior, but of course, it depends on how this horse goes on Sunday.”
Alacrity – who will race without cheek pieces after, according to both Teetan and Richards, the imported galloper did not relax in the early stages of his Hong Kong debut – is one of the Mauritian jockey’s full book of 10 rides on the Sha Tin programme.
Teetan continues his association with not only Alacrity but also last-start winners Run Run Good and Adefill, with the latter seeking his third consecutive triumph since switching from Sha Tin’s turf course to its all-weather track.
A six-start maiden who had not finished better than fifth before Ricky Yiu Poon-fai entered him in a Class Four dirt contest over 1,200m on January 21, Adefill’s rating has risen from 44 to 62 as a result of his two all-weather wins, the latest of which saw him clear out to score by six and a quarter lengths.
“He’s found a track where he’s very comfortable,” said Teetan of Adefill. “Prior to his first race on the all-weather, he’d been trialling really good on it, so I’m not surprised he’s doing so well on it.”
Adefill jumps from barrier nine in Sunday’s Class Three Somerset Handicap (1,200m) and Teetan thinks his wide draw is a positive, not a negative.
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“It suits him because he keeps rolling,” Teetan said. “If you’re drawn on the inside with him, you might just overuse him, whereas if you’re on the outside, he just takes his own time.
“He’s got a big action. He’s a horse who just keeps grinding. He’s a really interesting horse and I think he’s got some more improvement to come.”
Teetan – who responded to losing the ride aboard last season’s Derby winner, Romantic Warrior, by posting a Happy Valley double on Wednesday – is fifth in this term’s jockeys’ premiership with 27 wins from 239 starts during an illness-interrupted campaign.
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