Jockey Karis Teetan believes that Morethanlucky is capable of joining a select group of five-time winners this season by taking Saturday's Class 2 Lung Mun Road Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin.
The Frankie Lor-trained Morethanlucky scored a quartet of wins early in the season to move from Class 4 into Class 2. Another victory would see him join Beauty Generation, Conte, Pick Number One, Pingwu Spark and Super Fluke as a winner of five this term.
“It’s been a great season for him,” Teetan said at Sha Tin this morning (Friday, 15 June). “He’s done a lot already to come from Class 4, it’s a big rise and not many horses can do it so I’m proud of him. I definitely hope, having had the freshen-up mid-season, he might be able to win one more.”
Morethanlucky’s rating surged after he finished third to Nothingilikemore and Singapore Sling in the first leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, the Hong Kong Classic Mile in January, taking him up to a mark of 92 after beginning the season on 53. And while Teetan feels that he is reaching his limit, he believes the Per Incanto gelding still has one win left in him before the season is out.
“Next season, I think he is a horse that could be competitive in the Group 3 handicaps, but I wouldn’t push him much further than that,” he said. “I think he’s already starting to reach his mark, he’s gone up nearly 40 points in the ratings and that’s a long way. It would be nice to get another win with him though and I think that he then will have earned his chance in some of those early Group 3 handicaps.”
Morethanlucky and Karis Teetan, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Last start, his first in three months, Morethanlucky tired after leading and finished fourth, a length and a quarter behind Rise High.
“He definitely needed that run,” Teetan said. “That day, I wish that something had gone past me to lead just so he could have had a breather, but he’s a big-striding horse so I had to let him go at his own rhythm and let him enjoy himself. That meant that he was on the lead in that race. Then Sam (Clipperton) let his horse (Sergeant Titanium) stride up to join me at the 700m, which just meant my horse had to do a little too much.
“He still gave me a strong kick in the straight before he’d had enough, but the race developed in the centre of the track and he was left by himself – I do think if he’d had a horse alongside him, he would have had some more enthusiasm too. He wouldn’t have won, but he would have showed some more fight. I’m happy with that, though, because I know that he can only improve going into tomorrow’s race.”
Morethanlucky (129lb) will jump from gate five.
Another horse coming out of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series is Rivet (131lb). The 2016 G1 Racing Post Trophy (1600m) winner has had two starts over 1000m and 1400m since being gelded in March and returns to a more favourable trip, having shown promise last start when closing into seventh. The blinkers also go on for the first time, with Clipperton taking the mount once more.
“I would have liked to have drawn a better barrier, he’s drawn awkwardly (in nine),” the Australian rider said. “Last start, though, there were signs that he is improving mentally. He jumped out of the barriers well, he was not naughty in the barriers, and he loomed up to win the race. Fitness just told the tale late.
“He’s a big, strong horse and obviously, being gelded as late as he was, he carries a lot of condition inside. If we have any luck in running and we get circumstances to suit, I think the horse can be competitive.”
Clipperton has had plenty to do with Rivet during his Hong Kong tenure, as well as being the regular rider of the British import’s older brother Booming Delight. He has long suggested that Rivet’s inherent ability is greater than that of his sibling, but admitted that it has been difficult to draw the best out of the Fastnet Rock four-year-old.
“They are similar types to look at but, in terms of personality, they are chalk and cheese,” the jockey said. “Complete opposites, actually. Booming Delight was a lovely, honest, gentleman type, whereas Rivet is nothing like that at all.
“I’ve always said all along that he is a very talented horse, but the trouble is getting it out of him on raceday. He works very well, the gelding operation should have helped and it seems to have helped in the mornings, but whether that comes to raceday, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Also in the line-up are two sons of Frankel, Lor’s Simply Brilliant (131lb) and the Tony Millard-trained Last Kingdom (117lb), to be partnered by Zac Purton and Chad Schofield respectively. Fast Most Furious (126lb), Circuit Hassler (121lb), Xiang Bai Qi (121lb), Dances With Dragon (119lb), Circuit Glory (118lb) and Hezthewonforus (118lb) complete the 10-horse field.
The Lung Mun Road Handicap is the eighth of 10 races at Sha Tin on Saturday and is set for 4.35pm, with the opener, the Class 4 Chai Wan Road Handicap (1000m), scheduled for 1pm.