By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

“You know you’re always going to get a hundred percent when lucky enough to have him ride one of your horses. There’s no giving up. Never. He doesn’t ‘put them away’ and comes back and gives you excuses why this and that didn’t happen. He rides to win”.

It was a horse owner friend talking to me about Karis Teetan after the Mauritian Magician rode another double at Happy Valley on Wednesday night- “another double” as hardly a race meeting goes by this season with him drawing a blank.

On Sunday, he had ridden a treble. Doubles and trebles have been flowing regularly all season. It’s been a season where he’s upped his game. Yes, he might not be the prettiest of riders to watch, and without the repertoire of Joao Moreira or Zac Purton, but Karis Teetan’s results begs the question, If an owner, do you want “pretty”, or do you want a winner?

Sometimes that will to win might see him incur the wrath of the Stipendiary Stewards, but he no doubt puts this down to one of those things and returns to take on all comers, especially the Brazilian Magic Man and the Zac Attack.

That one-time duopoly has been broken. It was only a matter of time. Like his rides, the Mauritian Magician doesn’t give up on anything. Don’t think he knows how to. He’s a naturally optimistic person.

When Karis first arrived in Hong Kong in time for the 2013-14 racing season and rode his first winner in the city in the first race of that season, it was the best way to introduce himself to racing fans in the city.

All I had heard about him from my racing writer friend Robyn Louw in South Africa was that horses traveled for him…and that he had attractive high cheekbones. I guess he has…

Since then, and leading up to this season, it’s not difficult to see that there’s a new focus- not to settle for being second or third banana. Instead, to work at being recognised as a top international rider.

Though in these stifling times certain career moves might have to be put on hold, with the Hong Kong International Races around the corner, there’s absolutely no reason why Karis Teetan won’t be sharing the limelight. He certainly seems to be working towards making this happen during that very special week of horse racing.

Karis is a friend. We’re not “besties” as we lead very different lives with equally different priorities. I know him well enough, however, to enjoy his successes. I am one of his cheerleaders.

When on Wednesday night he came flying down the outside to win on Explosive Witness in a blanket finish against hard fought rides by his arch rivals- Moreira and Purton- it wasn’t that much of a surprise.

I had told my friend to just keep watching the ride by Karis. By now, she knows that I don’t care where his horses are drawn or how far back in a race they might be. It seems to make no difference. It’s what makes him the Mauritian Magician.

For some reason, either the waves part and give him an uninterrupted path forward or his rides suddenly grow wings. Explosive Witness grew wings.

Karis Teetan has also grown wings. From a jockey who arrived in Hong Kong as an unknown commodity, he a leading man these days and in demand by every major stable- and every other stable.

In the competitive arena of Hong Kong racing, support systems like this go a very very long way. They make you determined to succeed. After all, no success means no dim sum and no rides.

Racing in Hong Kong pushes one to be the best one can. It might be racing twice a week, but it’s also a full time job of being one’s own public relations person and winning over everyone- trainers, owners, the friends of owners, the media.

There’s no time to rest on laurels. You’re only as good as your last winner. It’s a tough place to conquer. Karis Teetan has done exactly that. There are now new chapters for him to write.

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