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Karis Teetan: Keeping it real. And being happy.

He’d been sidelined for months with a health tissue during which time he lost out on the wins of his regular rides including Romantic Warrior taking out the G1 Hong Kong Cup at the recent HKIR Turf Championships at Shatin.

Yet, he didn’t throw his toys out of the cot and behave like some entitled ninny. He simply returned to support the racing and applaud James McDonald win aboard Romantic Warrior.

That’s Karis Teetan for you- the Mauritian magician or whatever label racing fans might give him.

At the end of the day, what matters is that Karis Teetan is a good person who keeps drinking from that half full glass.

He knows he can’t undo what’s been done and dusted.

Instead, he loves and prioritises his family and gets on with the business of being happy and riding winners.

Corny as it might sound, Karis Teetan exudes good vibes in a pastime, where these are often in short supply.

All too often hypocrisy, greed, shallowness and cheap politics take over, especially in a notoriously fickle and flaky city like Hong Kong.

With its horse racing product and brand looking somewhat wrinkly these days, the Hong Kong Jockey Club needs more Karis Teetans.

These are individuals in the racing game who are loyal to Hong Kong and with a positive mind set.

People like these are part of a team spirit worth supporting and make it part of rebuilding process.

It’s better than chasing after “superstar riders” who, as they have done for decades, will take whatever is thrown their way and then catapult themselves outta Hong Kong when that char siu bao has nothing more to offer.

Karis Teetan? He only recently returned to race riding and has started up again without skipping a beat.

In the past few race meetings since being back, he has ridden eight winners including a treble on Wednesday night at Happy Valley.

He is also the only jockey in Hong Kong whose popularity is not some “split decision”.

Even those “racing uncles” who find something to say about nothing appear to side with Team Teetan.

As a longtime local racing fan explained, there’s no hiding the fact that the Mauritian rider is always “trying”.

“Trying” is a keyword in Hong Kong horse racing parlance. It means that someone is, well, “not trying”.

If the Club is looking at somehow trying to revive its image along and bring Happy back to Happy Valley racecourse and to where it’s seldom been- Shatin races- we’d be looking towards someone like Happy Karis Teetan for inspiration.

His is a success story that might not be obvious to racing fans outside of Hong Kong, and maybe this is a good thing.

Often flying under the radar makes those victories more meaningful and with no need to shout when one can whisper.

Copyright © Hans Ebert, December 2022

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