Gallant Crown will look to extend his unbeaten run to four when he lines up in Wednesday’s (17 March) Class 3 Hereford Handicap (1650m) at Happy Valley and jockey Karis Teetan is optimistic that he can continue his climb up the handicap.
Facing Class 3 for the first time, the Hallowed Crown gelding has been a sensation this season as a three-time winner in a category lower – all over this course and distance – but tomorrow night he faces his stiffest test yet against a stronger collection of adversaries.
“He’s in good form this season, all of his runs have been good and he’s actually improving into a really nice horse,” Teetan said of the New Zealand-bred.
“The two wins that I have been aboard for he carried a heavy weight but he’s kept on getting better and I think now going up to Class 3 with less weight on his back – he can still be competitive,” the 30-year-old added.
Trained by Tony Millard – who is enjoying a fine season with 19 wins – the four-year-old has beaten all in front of him since early December and has the chance to join Golden Sixty and Winning Dreamer as the only horses to win four or more consecutive races this season.
“He’s a gentle horse and he actually can do whatever you like with him – I think that’s what allows him to keep improving all of the time,” Teetan said of the four-year-old’s adaptability.
The bay will lug 119lb tomorrow evening opposed to the 129lb he carried to victory last start.
“I think so (still more to come), with time and age he’s going to get even better but I think he’s going to be competitive tomorrow night, he’s doing well this horse,” Teetan said of the 62-rater.
With 45 wins this term, Teetan sits third in the jockeys’ championship, five clear of Vincent Ho in fourth (40), while Alexis Badel is hot on their heels with 38 wins.
Tomorrow evening, the Mauritian ace also pairs with familiar ally Will Power in the finale, the Class 2 Chester Handicap (1200m) in search of their sixth win together.
“We won a few races together, he’s been good to me and it would be nice to win on him again,” Teetan said.
The Power gelding is a five-time winner, all with Teetan and each time on the dirt but the Mauritian doesn’t believe the gifted five-year-old is just a one-trick pony.
“The run he put in last time at Happy Valley when he finished second was a good run, I thought he handled it well and it would be nice to see him win on the turf because so many people think he can only win on the dirt but I think he is capable on the turf also,” Teetan said.
The 100-rater finished a closing sixth last start over 1200m on the dirt in February, his first run since his dashing second at Happy Valley in late December, and tomorrow he will make just his third start on the grass.
“I thought he just needed his last run and I hope he can improve – I’m hoping that run has brought him on, and he’s run well at Happy Valley before so let’s hope he goes there and gives his best again,” Teetan said.
Two last-start victors in Racing Fighter (122lb) and Igniting (115lb) square off with Will Power (133lb) as does Shining Gem (128lb), Gold Chest (126lb), Hong Kong Bet (120lb), Handsome Bo Bo (119lb), Scores Of Fun (118lb), We The South (116lb), Gunnison (114lb), Kurpany (114lb) and Winning Method (113lb).