Jockeys ride their horses at the Hong Kong Vase during the Hong Kong International Races at the Sha Tin Racecourse on December 8, 2019. Picture: PHILIP FONG / AFP
Jockeys ride their horses at the Hong Kong Vase during the Hong Kong International Races at the Sha Tin Racecourse on December 8, 2019. Picture: PHILIP FONG / AFP

It probably hasn’t escaped the attention of leading jockey Warren Kennedy that former champion apprentice Karis Teetan earned more at a single meeting in Hong Kong than he did all last season.

At Happy Valley racecourse last week, Teetan, 29, won the Longines International Jockeys Challenge and his winning cheque was HK$500,000 (about R1m).

One had to love Teetan’s comment on the huge prize. He quipped: “I’m getting married next year so I need the money.”

He added: “I still can’t believe I won this challenge. It’s just not a normal day because I’m riding against the world’s top jockeys like Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore. Normally I have to watch them on television.”

Moore, rated by most pundits as the best jockey on the planet, gave it his best shot, but in the end finished two points behind Teetan.

Humble surroundings

Arriving in SA as a 13 year-old with little money, Teetan admits he was frightened by the strict discipline and wanted to return to Mauritius. However, he buckled down to his task at the Jockey Academy and when he left in 2009 he had booted home 147 winners.

Now he’s earning big bucks which he’s understandably happy about as he makes no secret that his family hails from humble surroundings on the holiday island.

At 38 years of age, Warren Kennedy is nine years Teetan’s senior, yet the jockey who can be described as having been a journeyman rider for a number of years is ending the year on a high note he could only have dreamed of.

Up to December 4, Kennedy had ridden 106 winners this term to put him 33 ahead of his nearest rival, Greg Cheyne. Last season, Kennedy finished in seventh place in the national jockeys’ log with his mounts earning R17.1m. Presuming he gets 10% of that figure, his earnings would have been about R170,000.

Taking the exchange rate as R2/HK$, Kennedy earned a sixth over 12 months of what Karis Teetan earned for one day’s work.

Kennedy is setting a pace usually reserved for Lewis Hamilton in Grands Prixes and he can reflect on his prophetic words in an interview two years ago when he said: “It’s taken a long time and I’d probably have preferred it to happen a little sooner. It’s basically the adage ‘the wheel turns’: things are bound to come right eventually.”

Kennedy is full of praise for the number of 2019 winners hailing from the Turffontein stable of Paul Peter. If Kennedy has been the success story of the year, Peter has been the revelation of the training ranks. He has sent out 48 winners from 321 runners this season.

Teetan is a Manchester United fan so his favourite football team’s defeat of neighbours Manchester City on Saturday will have put the cherry on top for the week. Liverpool have built up a huge lead in the Premier League, and perhaps only Leicester have a chance of catching them. What odds would one get taking the Liverpool, Kennedy double?

Vaal selections

First race: (15) Wylie Wench (1) Blessed Rain (13) Testimony (3) Marmalade Cat

Second race: (15) Different Light (13) Wharra Wharra (1) Titelist (14) Zig Zag

Third race: (1) Midnight Top (16) Three Peaks (11) Irish Jet (2) Get Set

Fourth race: (1) Victoria Paige (2) Lonely Night (3) Bid Before Sunset (4) Scent Of Evening

Fifth race: (5) Prince Evlanoff (4) Leopold (3) Vaseem (6) Ballon D'Or

Sixth race: (4) Sally Called (2) Mistressofmyfate (11) Empress Josephine (8) Littlewood

Seventh race: (5) At Hand (3) Snorting Bull (2) Skiminac (9) Palace Green

Eighth race: (11) Cairon (12) Ideal Man (14) Numberninetynine (1) Latin Opus