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Teetan, Ho and Hewitson claim LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship berths

November 23, 2023 at 4:16:17 AM

Karis Teetan, Vincent Ho and Lyle Hewitson will compete in the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC) on 6 December after the trio secured the final three places in the series at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (22 November).

Karis Teetan, Vincent Ho and Lyle Hewitson will compete in the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC) on 6 December after the trio secured the final three places in the series at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (22 November).

In the absence of injured Hugh Bowman (21 wins), Teetan (20) qualified as the next best-performed rider behind Zac Purton (31), while Vincent Ho (13) claimed his place as the leading homegrown rider from Matthew Chadwick (seven).

After a four-way tussle involving Hewitson, Brenton Avdulla, Andrea Atzeni and Luke Ferraris for the remaining slot came down to the last race of the final meeting in the LONGINES IJC qualifying period, Hewitson edged out Avdulla on a countback with more third placings.

Ferraris had made a late surge by winning the Class 4 Plover Cove Handicap (1200m) on Scotch Tycoon for Mark Newnham to draw level with Avdulla, Hewitson and Atzeni with two races left on the card but ultimately Hewitson’s third placing on Brave Star behind David Hall-trained Never Too Soon, under Keagan De Melo, in the Class 3 High Island Handicap (1200m) sealed the issue.

Avdulla, Atzeni and Ferraris could have snared the final spot with a win – or in Avdulla’s case a second placing – but the trio finished behind Hewitson in a blanket finish.

Hewitson will appear in the LONGINES IJC for the third time after totalling 10 wins, 14 seconds and 19 thirds compared to Avdulla’s 10 wins, 14 seconds and eight thirds – having started the night with fewer seconds than Avdulla.

“My unlucky one of the night – Happy Tango (second in the opening event) – saved me, so I’m very grateful for that. Look, there’s no secret – we made it in by default but, with that said, someone had to step up to the plate and I’m glad it’s me,” the South African said.

“I’ve competed in two IJCs previously. Hopefully it will be third time lucky.”

Teetan, Ho and Hewitson join Purton, James McDonald, Ryan Moore, Yuga Kawada, Hollie Doyle, Tom Marquand, Bauyrzhan Murzabayev, Rachel King and Mickael Barzalona in the HK$1 million contest, with the competition winner earning HK$600,000.

Teetan crowned his LONGINES IJC selection with victory aboard Douglas Whyte-trained Splendid Star in the Class 5 Shek Pik Handicap (1650m), the first leg of a double for the Mauritian.

“To ride on IJC night against the world’s finest jockeys who will be here – the Club puts on a night you will remember forever – so to be part of that, it’s fantastic,” Teetan said.

“It’s a pleasure to get the support – without the support you just can’t do it. Last season, I was a bit sick and mentally and physically it wasn’t easy, but when you don’t give up, it’s rewarding.

“I just try to win on every horse I ride and try to give them the best chance.”

Teetan sealed his brace as Pierre Ng’s Quantum Patch collected a HK$1.5 million PP Bonus with victory in the Class 3 Kam Shan Handicap (1650m).

Ho cemented his place atop Caspar Fownes-trained M Unicorn in the first section of the Tai Tam Handicap (1650m).

“I’ll have fun in the IJC again against the top jockeys in the world, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s another learning opportunity for myself – everything is about learning, so riding against those guys will be amazing,” Ho said.

Ho proceeded to a race-to-race double when Happy United swept down the outside to land the Class 4 Shek Lei Pui Handicap (1000m) to give Jamie Richards a double. Richards and Antoine Hamelin combined for their first winner of the season when Ernest Feeling surged to a clearcut success in the Class 5 Tai Lam Chung Handicap (1200m).

Alfred Chan notched his first win of the season with a clever ride on David Hayes-trained Samarkand in the Class 4 American Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1650m).

“It’s awesome,” Chan said. “It’s been frustrating because I’ve had three seconds for my boss (Caspar Fownes) this season, so to win this race tonight is great. I’ve been working hard and trying my best, so it’s a great result.”

Hong Kong racing continues on Sunday (26 November) with the running of the Class 1 Chevalier Cup Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin.

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