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Karis Teetan, Vincent Ho shine at Happy Valley as Francis Lui, Douglas Whyte post doubles

January 9, 2024 at 3:37:04 AM

Thriving in the absence of Zac Purton and Hugh Bowman, Karis Teetan and Vincent Ho consolidated positions inside the top five of the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship with doubles at Happy Valley on Thursday night (4 January).

Thriving in the absence of Zac Purton and Hugh Bowman, Karis Teetan and Vincent Ho consolidated positions inside the top five of the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship with doubles at Happy Valley on Thursday night (4 January).

Teetan, who sits second in the standings with 35 victories, combined twice with Douglas Whyte to cut Zac Purton’s lead to 15 wins with the Australian on a rare leave of absence, while Ho moved into fifth place with 19 wins after teaming up staunch ally Francis Lui on two occasions.

A remarkably consistent performer, Teetan extended his lead over third-placed Bowman (suspended) to 12 following his success on Shinkansen and Majestic Knight in the Class 2 Albatross Handicap (1200m).

“The New Year has just started and it’s great to get some winners,” the Mauritian said.

“Tonight has worked out well and I’m glad I got some winners. I had some decent rides and some good support, so it’s nice to get the wins.

“Credit to Douglas and his team. Majestic Knight, when I didn’t lead, he came back under me and when I picked him up, he really responded well. I was very impressed – Howdeepisyourlove is a very classy horse and for Majestic Knight to beat him tonight shows how well he is going.”

Whyte was elated after Majestic Knight’s (122lb) triumph after the gelding staved off Wonder Kit (119lb) by a head with Howdeepisyourlove (132lb) only a short head away in third place.

“He’s the model of consistency really. It looked like he would lead tonight but that didn’t work out,” the South African said. “He took the trailing position and it worked out well. He saved some energy and it proved beneficial at the end.”

Lui and Ho combined with Cordyceps One to land the Class 5 Mesia Handicap (1650m) and the duo also struck with Gallant Waking in the Class 3 Nightjar Handicap (1650m) as Lui took his tally for the season to 26 wins – 15 fewer than Pierre Ng.

Extending an incredible season, Pierre Ng scored with Bon’s A Pearla – one of the few mares racing in Hong Kong – in the Class 3 Sea Eagle Handicap (1200m) under Alexis Badel. Winner of the G2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) in Australia in 2021, Bon’s A Pearla had placed only twice in 11 starts before the mare unleashed a withering finish tonight.

“She’s always been a tricky one – even for the stables who had her before,” Ng said, celebrating his 41st win of the campaign. “We tried everything – every course and distance – but she didn’t like it. Finally, she liked a sprinting race at the Valley.”

Jamie Richards’ season continued to gain momentum when Super Fast Dragon swept to victory in the Class 4 Robin Handicap (1000m) under Lyle Hewitson, enhancing the Kiwi’s strong affinity with Happy Valley.

“He’s a horse who needs a little bit of luck because of his racing style. He was pretty unlucky on IJC (LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship) night, and he didn’t have everything go his way that day. It’s good to get a bit of luck, and like most horses in Hong Kong, they need a little bit of time to adjust,” Richards said.

“He’s getting there now, and he was given a good ride tonight. Hopefully, he can go on from there. He’s down at the bottom of Class 4, so he’s going to get another go for sure. He’ll find his rating eventually. The owners have been very patient and very loyal, so I thank them for the support.”

Beauty Infinity provided 12-time champion trainer John Size with his 20th winner of the campaign with success in the second section of the Class 4 Lark Handicap (1200m) and left a favourable impression on in-form jockey Andrea Atzeni.

“He ran a very promising race last time, he finished off nicely but we knew we were taking on better horses this time,” Atzeni said. “But he’s obviously improved again and he’s a nice horse.”

Sure Joyful proved too strong in the Class 4 Hong Kong Golf Club Centenary Cup Handicap (1650m) for Ricky Yiu to provide Matthew Poon with his fourth score of the season.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday (7 January) with the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap (1000m).

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