Karis Teetan sees a few good omens at his next international tour of duty in Singapore.
First of all, the Lion City brought him beginner’s luck when he took out the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1400m) aboard Lim’s Cruiser for Stephen Gray at his very first foray in November 2016.
One year later, his second stint was more “bruiser” than “cruiser”. Newlands was in a winnable position in the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2200m) but the stayer, who is also trained by Gray, clipped heels and stumbled out of the race.
Karis Teetan drives Horse Of Fortune to the line in the Group 3 Sa Sa Ladies' Purse in 2016 (photo courtesy of Hong Kong Jockey Club).
It was hit-and-miss, as racing can be anyway, but the Hong Kong-based Mauritian jockey is viewing his third Kranji visit with a different spin, which he hopes will translate into an outcome closer to Lim’s Cruiser’s next Saturday week.
Unlike his first two visits when he was invited by local connections, the South African-trained jockey is this time riding a Hong Kong-based horse, Horse Of Fortune in the $1.5 million Invitational Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) on May 26. Fellow Hong Kong expat jockey Zac Purton will also join him this time, taking the ride on the Caspar Fownes-trained Southern Legend in the race billed as the precursor to its relaunch as an International Group 1 race.
The fact that Horse Of Fortune is prepared by South African handler Tony Millard, the same trainer who gave him his first overseas hurrah - as a Hong Kong-based hoop - with Super Jockey in the Group 1 Keeneland Korea Sprint (1200m) in September, 2016, is not lost on Teetan either.
“I won the Korea Sprint with Super Jockey for Tony two years ago. It was my first overseas win on a Hong Kong horse,” said Teetan, a winner of more than 800 races including several at Group level, mostly in South Africa and Hong Kong.
“Hopefully, we have the same luck with Horse Of Fortune next week. I’ve known Tony since I was an apprentice jockey in South Africa, he knew me from there and has supported me in Hong Kong.”
He needed no second invitation when Millard offered him the ride on Horse Of Fortune, a South African-bred seven-year-old by Stronghold.
This time, Teetan is also getting his family from Mauritius, who often fly over to Hong Kong to celebrate his wins at Sha Tin or Happy Valley, to come up to Singapore – for the races and a spot of tourism as well.
It’s not only in the big race that the Teetans will get to cheer their favourite son on. With the help of well-known local racing identity Gareth Pepper, the 27-year-old jockey is also booked for at least three more rides – Rafaello for Ricardo Le Grange in the $1 million Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m), Could Be Pearls for Cliff Brown in the Kranji Stakes A race over 1600m and Sky Rocket for Gray in the Class 3 race over 1200m.
“I’m really excited to come back to Singapore. I’m coming in early on Thursday with my family this time,” said Teetan, who is enjoying arguably his best Hong Kong season since arriving in the former British colony in 2013, sitting in third spot behind perennial leader Joao Moreira.
“I really like Singapore and its racing. There are so many nice people I’ve met at the two visits.
“Obviously, the first time was memorable, but I got done the second time. We were unlucky, but that’s racing.
“This time, I’m riding a Hong Kong horse, so it’ll be a different experience. I know this horse well as I’ve won four times on him, including the Group 3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1800m) two years ago.
“The horse is going well. He hasn’t run for a long time (since March 28) but he’s a horse that likes to run well fresh.
“I’ve been working him at both Happy Valley and Sha Tin. He had one trial at Sha Tin on the 5th of May and he went really well.
“He’s a nice horse but he’s probably a few lengths behind the top horses in Hong Kong.
“He’s a horse with a beautiful acceleration. He normally races handy and gets onto the speed, and that’s why the draw will be important for him.
“The 1800m is his best distance, but as he’s fresh and he’s in a new country, it could change his mindset and he could go well over 1600m.”