Fifty Fifty takes the Chevalier Cup and sparks a Teetan treble

Fifty Fifty (115lb) continued his ascent through the grades with victory in the Chevalier Cup Handicap at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Peter Ho’s charge made light of his first start in Class 1, delivering a smart change of speed at the entrance to the home straight and sustaining his momentum to hold the late charge of Exultant (114lb). The latter’s effort had Four-Year-Old Classic Series written large across it.

Peter Ho-trained Fifty Fifty (blue and white silks), ridden by Karis Teetan, takes the Chevalier Cup (Class 1 1600m), picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

Fifty Fifty is a year too advanced for Hong Kong’s classics but the lightly-raced five-year-old proved again that he is one of Sha Tin’s bright new things in sealing his third win at start number five under Karis Teetan.

Ho was coy about his stable star’s next outing but did not rule out a two-week back-up into the undercard at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on 10 December.

“It’s too soon for him,” Ho offered at first. “But it depends. Maybe he looks great tomorrow, he eats up his feed and we’ll have to see, but it depends on the owner, Mr. Lee. I need to have a talk with the owner.”

Ho is confident, though, that the talented grey can stretch out over more ground.

“He can handle 1800 metres, easily,” he said. “You could see today, he’s so relaxed. The way he won – the more you ask him, the more he goes.

“Today he jumped and when the jockey switched him off, he just totally relaxed. This horse is very smart, he was waiting for the signal and once Teetan started the engine, he went.”

Fifty Fifty and Teetan are clear at the line, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

Teetan had been caught behind runners until deep in the home run at his previous two starts. Fifty Fifty’s afterburners saved the day in the first of those races but the New Zealand-bred gelding had to settle for third after surging late over 1400m last time.

This time, the Mauritian rider settled the 2.1 favourite in an uncomplicated spot, one off the fence, with naught but the breeze to his outer and within easy striking range of the leaders.

“He’s improving all the time and I knew the 1600 (metres) was no problem,” Teetan said. “He’s gone to sleep behind them and I was just waiting for the right time to pull him out and let him go. He gave me a nice, long run from the turn in. Once horses came next to him, he went again.

“For me, he was the best horse in the race and he’s on the up. Every time he’s gone out there he’s tried his best. Peter said to me ‘just fire the horse with a lot of confidence’. It hasn't been easy for him but he’s run and he’s travelled.

“This horse won overseas from the front so showing daylight the whole way doesn’t matter to him, he’s got a nice change of gears. He’s a lovely horse and he’s shown his ability already,” Teetan said.

Fifty Fifty ran to the wire through a final 400m split of 22.64s to halt the stopwatch at 1m 34.58s for the mile feature. A half-length behind, Exultant ran through the closing section in 22.11s under Matthew Chadwick.

Tony Cruz’s charge had shaped well in fifth on his Hong Kong debut two weeks ago.

“I expected Exultant to win today but maybe it’s come a bit early for him,” Cruz said of the Irish import. The Teofilo three-year-old was third to Churchill in the G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas (1600m) in May, when named Irishcorrespondent.

“He’s meant to run farther than this, he’ll go 2000 metres,” Cruz continued. “He’ll go into the Hong Kong Classic Mile in January – we have to go that way with him.”

Citron Spirit (116lb) was a further three-quarters of a length third, with the game Marvel Hero fourth of the 10 runners.

Karis Teetan celebrates, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club