Jockey Karis Teetan continued his perfect run through Hong Kong’s Group races in 2018 after taking the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap (1000m) aboard John Size’s Premiere at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Six days after winning the G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m) on Fifty Fifty, Teetan produced a well-planned ride aboard Premiere to take the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy, one of only two Group races over the Sha Tin straight.
Instead of allowing Premiere to lead, as he had often done in the past, Teetan settled the Dylan Thomas gelding just behind early lamplighter Fabulous One on the grandstand rail.
“In his trials, I’d been taking a sit on him and he’d been letting down nicely,” Teetan said, with Size adding: “I’d been mindful that he would have to get around a bend eventually, so I’d been trying to get him used to the idea of travelling behind horses in his dirt trials. He seemed to bring that to the races today.”
“I knew that with a steady tempo set by Fabulous One, he’d get a nice trail and that he would let down – and he did!” Teetan continued. “Once he got through the gap at the 300m, which he did very comfortably, he went on with it and he was so strong right to the line.”
At the line, 3.2 shot Premiere (115lb) had a three-quarter length margin over Chris So’s Fabulous One (113lb), with a further half-length back to Premiere’s stablemate House Of Fun (115lb), who finished third as the even-money favourite. The winner stopped the clock in 56.95s on the good-to-yielding surface, the slowest running of the race since champion Fairy King Prawn scored in 2001.
Premiere was named Champion Griffin after his exploits as a three-year-old, when he won three of his 12 starts and took his rating from 52 to 82. However, he has gone to another level at four, winning all four of his starts this season and emerging as a legitimate stakes-level galloper.
“He’s certainly stronger this season,” Size said. “He’s shown that he has taken a step forward, so now, we are going to have to bite the bullet and attempt 1200m with him, because the next 1000m race for him is not until October. We have no other option.”
Size said he would study the programme to find the next race for Premiere, but he was lukewarm about the idea of tackling the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) with the bay. There, he would be forced to tackle stablemates Mr Stunning, D B Pin, Amazing Kids and Beat The Clock at set weights.
The feature was the second leg of a double for Teetan, who earlier won the Class 3 Heather Handicap (1600m) on Hong Kong Classic Mile aspirant Morethanlucky.
Racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (10 January), with the feature being the only Group race run at the city circuit, the G3 January Cup Handicap (1800m).