Michael Cox



‘Blessed’ Karis Teetan hopeful of December return and looking at upside of long layoff

Popular rider Karis Teetan has spent a frustrating few months away from Hong Kong racing but has been blessed with quality time with family and is ‘hungry’ ahead of possible return in time for International Day

Karis Teetan could be back riding trackwork as early as this week and aims to return to racing by the end of the month, and true to his effervescent nature he is looking at the positive aspects of the long layoff.

The 32-year-old hasn’t ridden since the third meeting of the season, when he rode three winners at Sha Tin, and has spent nearly three months on the sidelines since as doctors attempted to get to the bottom of a worrying thyroid complaint that caused an elevated heart rate.

Encouraging weekly blood test results on Monday had Teetan hopeful he would receive clearance to begin cardio training soon and be able to get back on a horse for the first time since his condition was first discovered.

“I am just waiting for that all-clear from the Jockey Club doctor to ride trackwork,” Teetan said. “We need to keep monitoring those blood tests, I won’t be rushing and I want to get back step by step and do it properly.

“I have started feeling like myself again, I have started doing some pilates, doing some weights over the last three weeks, but I can now start picking up a little bit more with the fitness.

“I want to ride trackwork, no racing or barrier trials yet, just to meet with some people and sit on a horse again.”


Karis Teetan combining with Romantic Warrior to take out the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit/Getty Images)

As Teetan’s time on the sidelines dragged on there was growing concern that his overactive thyroid was caused by the auto-immune disorder Graves’ disease, but further blood tests have ruled that out.

Teetan said that although the root cause of his condition is unknown – another possibility is that an off-season case of Covid had inflamed his thyroid – the good news is that his thyroid hormone levels are trending towards normal range.

“The main thing is that the medication is working,” he said. “And if it is an inflamed thyroid then it is finished, it comes and then it is gone.”

One quality Karis Teetan has never lacked is perspective. His perpetual positivity has carried him from an underprivileged childhood in Mauritius to the South African Jockey Academy as a non-English speaking 14-year-old, champion apprentice in South Africa and now a winner of more than 550 races over nine seasons based at Sha Tin.

Teetan and French wife Xaviere, a former Jockey Club trackwork rider, welcomed their first daughter Isabelle six months ago and the time off has allowed them to spend precious time with family.

Time with family has included Teetan’s parents Pravin and Rita, along with brother Hansley, none of whom had been to Hong Kong for more than three years.

The extended family returned from an eight-day break in Thailand on Sunday and on Monday were joined by another of Teetan’s brothers, Mervin, who has joined the Jockey Club as a trackwork rider.

“I am picking him up from the airport today, and hopefully we will be riding trackwork together this week,” Teetan said late on Monday. “It is great to have my family here and holiday with them. My parents and Hansley have a couple more weeks here.

“At the end of the day, I have something I have to deal with, my illness, and it isn’t the end of the world. It had been a long time, all throughout Covid, that we could not travel. Time goes quickly, so I was blessed to be able to take everybody to Thailand for a trip.

“Isabelle is growing fast, she is a few days from seven months old, so spending time with her at this time was perfect. For me, everything is about family, but now I am happy to be recovering too.”

Isabelle, Xaviere and Karis in Thailand. (Photo: Supplied)

Karis Teetan with his brother Hansley, parents Pravin and Rita, daughter Isabelle and wife Xaviere, on holiday in Thailand. (Photo: Supplied).

Teetan will miss the return of his 2022 Hong Kong Derby and QEII Cup winner Romantic Warrior this Sunday, with champion Australian-based jockey James McDonald flying in to ride Danny Shum’s four-year-old in the G2 Jockey Club Cup.

Shum has yet to confirm who will ride the four-year-old on International Day but Teetan is taking each day as it comes.

“I spoke to Danny about it and I understand why they want to book him, it’s an important horse and they want to book a top jockey,” Teetan said. “I do not know what is happening in December, and I haven’t looked at taking rides yet.

“I want to be 100 percent fit before I go back to racing.”

When he does return, Teetan said he will be out to make up for lost time.

“I just want to get back on a horse first, but inside I am like a hungry lion wanting to be back,” he said. “I am strong, full of energy and nearly ready to go.”




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