By David Morgan in Seoul
Super Jockey delivered a performance of absolute superiority to secure a pioneering victory in the KOR G1 Korea Sprint (1200m) at Seoul Racecourse this afternoon, Sunday, 11 September.
Hong Kong’s first horse to race on Korean soil – or sand, to be precise – soon became the first to triumph as he took the inaugural edition of the US$700,000 race, the first of two contests open to overseas competitors at the all-new Korea Autumn Racing Carnival. And the win was all in the planning.
The gelding’s jubilant trainer, Tony Millard, in stressing the preparation that had gone into this groundbreaking venture, had had a hint of Benjamin Franklin about his words in the lead-up. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” the American statesman once declared. Millard was never going to be guilty of that.
“Going into this sprint a lot of things went right and we had a good feeling about it,” said the South African in the race’s heady aftermath. “The team worked really well because we had to prepare the horse in the off-season, which is not easy, especially as he’s a horse that doesn’t sweat - that’s quite a big call in Hong Kong’s summer humidity.
“The race panned out exactly the way we planned, which doesn’t often happen,” he added. “He runs very well fresh, we know that and I was very happy with his preparation coming into this. It was great, I didn’t actually expect him to win that well but he’s a high-class horse.”
Super Jockey broke smartly from his prime berth in gate two and, once out of the sand-churning slipstream of the pace-setting local runner, Perdido Pomeroy, the aptly-sired Sandtrap gelding had the race at his mercy under Karis Teetan.
“The leader came around me pretty quickly out of the barrier and I didn’t want to sit behind him, I wanted to get my horse out and once I really got him out of the kick-back and gave him a clear run, he really started pulling me through and I didn’t want to pull him back to break his action,” said the Mauritian ace.
“I wanted to see how many others were making ground. I could see the leader would go enough and I would be able to get out, so I held him a little bit to get around but once I got around there was no kick-back and that was the main thing.”
Super Jockey was pulling double on the turn, upsides the pace-setter, whose throttle was fully out. A flick of the reins with 350m to race took Hong Kong’s hope into a clear lead. From that point the race was over. “Once we turned into the home straight he changed leg and really let down,” said the rider.
Teetan looked around with a furlong and a half remaining and, seeing his rivals toiling, allowed his mount to coast home through the final 100m to win by four lengths.
“I was looking for them and he was getting lazy,” he said. “Like Mr. Millard said, ride just like it’s a trial, because that’s how he likes it, in all his trials back home he really trials well when you allow him to do what he wants. He handled the surface pretty well and he ran a very good race – he had a lot in the tank still.”
And Teetan, too, had a word on the all-important preparation: “I must say well done to the trainer, I think he’s done the best preparation of a horse I’ve ever seen – this horse was really well coming into this race. I knew if he could handle this surface that he would be hard to beat.”
This afternoon’s win was Super Jockey’s fifth at career start 23 and a deserved first outside of Hong Kong for the 2015 G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen runner-up since his import to Hong Kong from New Zealand. Further plans are currently in the making.
“Karis eased him down, which was lovely – we live to race another day,” said Millard. “We’ll go back to Hong Kong and decide there where we’ll aim for next.”
The Peter Wolsley-trained Macheon Bolt took second for Korea with Japan’s Grape Brandy in third.
Japan dominated the day’s other feature, the KOR G1 Korea Cup (1800m, sand), with the Kanichiro Fujii-ridden Chrysolite drawing clear from compatriot Kurino Star O to land the prize. Local galloper Triple Nine was a long way third.
Hong Kong runner Super Jockey, with Karis Teetan on board, thumps his opponents to win the KOR G1 Korea Sprint (sand, 1200m) at Seoul Racecourse today.
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Connections of Super Jockey celebrate their success in the Korea Sprint.
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Super Jockeyˇ¦s owners Tony Lau Yiu Tong and Thomas Lau Sum Fai, trainer Tony Millard and jockey Karis Teetan, all receive their winning trophies in the Korea Sprint trophy presentation ceremony.