Karis Teetan will return to the saddle at Happy Valley on Wednesday evening after spending the past 21 local fixtures on the sidelines due to illness.
Teetan, 32, collected five wins from the first three race meetings this season in September before his untimely interval. The Mauritian – who takes four mounts tonight – is buoyed by his reunion with Panfield this Sunday and the support of those around him.
“It was a long two and a half months of just waiting at home and recovering slowly,” Teetan said. “I needed to be patient and with everyone's support, the Club's support and the doctors – finally everything has returned to normal and things are looking good.
“I used to wake up with my heart rate at 180, now I'm waking up on 40-something. Monday I had a workout in the afternoon and before it could hit 200, now again, it's 90-something after hard work.
“When we first found out they thought it was a hypothyroid or Graves' disease but every single test was coming back negative. I saw the doctor a few weeks ago and she treated me for an inflamed thyroid. She says it is very rare but she believes that it is an inflamed thyroid due to getting COVID.”
Teetan's return comes on the undercard of the 2022 International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley – the very competition he won for the first time in 2019.
“It's a fantastic night to return, we're going to see some great jockeys around and I'm really looking forward to it – again I'm just thankful for all of the support from everyone,” Teetan said.
Teetan will kick off his return aboard So You Trust in the Class 4 Australia Handicap (1650m) before reuniting with Murray's Partners in the Class 5 France Handicap (1650m).
“Superbella comes in with a light weight, he hasn't proven it yet in the class but if we get some luck in the run anything can happen. Super Dobbin comes down in class, he's been working really well and Murray's Partners, it could be a bit short for him, although, he gets down in class too but at the end of the day, I'm just happy to be back – it's a good start,” Teetan said.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Teetan takes a pair of rides in the Group 1 races, teaming with Panfield in the HK$22 million Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) before linking with Savvy Nine in the HK$34 million Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m).
Teetan won the 2021 Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) aboard Panfield.
“He's been doing so well, in his preparation and in the mornings, he has been preparing himself so well and I just think he needs to bring that to the races and show his form again.
“He's lost his form lately but we galloped him and he felt really good, so if he brings his form on the big day on Sunday then I think he should be competitive,” Teetan said.
“It's going to be a tough race but I know this horse, he can see (out) the 2400 metres on his good day and if he brings his form and gets the right run, then I don't see why he should not be competitive,” Teetan said.
Savvy Nine might only be a one-time winner from 37 starts in Hong Kong but the Anodin gelding has shown a stack of consistency, with his career-best outing returning second to stablemate Russian Emperor in the 2022 Group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m).
“He's working good, he's been running well in the handicap races but of course now it's going to be tough for him but he's the kind of horse who is a mystery, if he gets the right run then he can run well and he can perform. I think Douglas (Whyte) has the horse flying now, so I just hope he can run well,” Teetan said.