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Panfield soars to the top of Hong Kong’s staying ranks with Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup victory

May 26, 2021, 7:22:40 AM

Karis Teetan G1 victory in the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (23 May) was aided by a flawless ride aboard Tony Millard's Panfield – as well as incalculable personal solace.

Teetan dedicated the win to his wife Xaviere after Millard's genius training effort removed some of the 'Mauritian Magician's' gloom after the death of good friend Nooresh Juglall in a race fall in Mauritius on 15 May.

“I'm happy I took this one home. It's been a difficult week. I required this race to get back to work, to the track, and I'd like to dedicate it to my mom (Xaviere). She's been by my side for a few weeks now, and she's giving me trust every day,” he added.

“I received terrible news last week that we had lost one of my closest friends and my brother in cycling, and this has hit me hard. This victory makes us feel a little better, but we still miss Nooresh.

“It's been a long time since I've had one of these massive ones, so it feels good.” You just have to keep working hard, and it will come.”

Teetan aggressively followed Exultant and Zac Purton behind pacesetter Time Warp before launching his challenge in the straight, clawing his way past the five-time G1 winner before seeing off a late challenge from Joao Moreira and Columbus County.

Panfield and Columbus County were split by half a stretch, with Exultant a length and a quarter further out.

“At the 700-metre mark, I knew this horse was going to go straight across the line because he simply fell down a gear and began to motor home,” Teetan said. “(But) when Joao comes next to you in a sprint, you know you're in for a fight. He's come next to me a couple times in those big ones and he's gotten the best of me, and I was like, 'C'mon Joao, not today,' and it pays off.”

Millard, the dual Derby winner, won his first G1 in Hong Kong after Ambitious Dragon won the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup in 2013. Millard said Panfield, who had won three G1s in Chile before arrival in Hong Kong, had undergone a "proper Millard training" leading up to the race.

“We did a great 1800-meter session, and if any of you saw it, it was incredible. He broke 60 seconds for 1000 metres and finished (the last 400m) in 21.8 seconds, with Karis clinging to him.

After that, I told Karis, 'I don't care how fine they are, he's set,'" Millard said.

“Clearly, a lot of the older horses are done now, so he takes the top spot as the best staying horse in Hong Kong.

“Karis rode a wonderful race today; it was exactly as we expected it and it turned out well. I'm overjoyed for him and it gives him faith that if he's on the right horse, he can do it. Clearly, this horse was the right horse today, and he gave it his all.”

In addition to the HK$6.8 million in reward money, Panfield received a HK$500,000 Top-Up Bonus – a payout offered to horses who have already earned a HK$1 million High Achievement Bonus since winning a Class 2 race or higher by the age of five.

Blake Shinn completed his first double in Hong Kong before moving to the city in 2019.

“It's safe to conclude it's been a while in the making. It's taken a little longer than I'd like. It's so cool to have two winners in a day – it's satisfying,” the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey said after riding Caspar Fownes' Hall Of Champ to victory in the Class 3 Indigenous Handicap (1400m).

“It's also fantastic to see David Hayes and Caspar Fownes win. They've given me a lot of encouragement in Hong Kong, so it's cool to win for both of them.”

Shinn won the Class 4 Viva Pataca Handicap (2000m) atop David Hayes' Donc Je Suis, before Frankie Lor's Free Foal burst through for his first Hong Kong win in the Class 4 Blazing Speed Handicap (1600m) under Matthew Chadwick.

The Hulk made it two on the trot for Fownes and Teetan in the second part of the Class 3 Vengeance Of Rain Handicap after a wait of 23 starts (1400m).

With a treble, Joao Moreira increased his lead in the jockey's championship to 131 victories, 20 more than Zac Purton (111).

Jockeys Chad Schofield and Shinn Teetan joined Shinn and Teetan in claiming doubles, while trainers John Size and Fownes exchanged a treble apiece, leaving the trainers' title delicately poised, with Size leading Fownes 65 to 62.

On Wednesday, racing in Hong Kong resumes at Happy Valley (26 May).