Danny Shum Chap-shing has been the biggest supporter of Alexis Badel but said the French jockey “has a lot to learn” after a winning double at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Badel won on Blue Stitch for Tony Millard early in the evening then added his only ride for the Shum yard, Winning Faith, in the sixth to keep up an excellent record for the trainer.
In all, Badel has had seven wins from 46 mounts for Shum both last season and in this stint, but won just four from 152 mounts for other stables.
“I think, for a European jockey, he was a fast learner on how to ride here last season, so I gave him a chance, but he has a lot to learn,” said Shum, who has provided more than a third of Badel’s mounts this season.
“He needs to learn the pace, who to follow, he has to study the field before a race but most of all, I told him he needs to learn to text the trainers for rides. If he wants to make a successful career in Hong Kong, it’s too competitive to wait for the rides. He has to text the trainers again and again and get some better rides.”
Badel broke the ice in his current stint a month ago with a Happy Valley double but had nothing since until Wednesday night’s double.
Winning Faith proved to be a classic case of a horse finding his right race after a series of slightly frustrating good efforts in defeat at Sha Tin.
“He’s been running 1,200m at Sha Tin and some of the jockeys have told me he needs 1,400m but, you know, the 1,400m Class Three races at Sha Tin are usually quite strong,” Shum said.
“So, I decided to switch to Happy Valley and that meant having to try the mile. I thought if he got a good draw he might be able to do something. I was very pleased for the owner, Mr Chao [Kuang-piu], who was one of my first owners when I got a licence and has supported me ever since.
“He has raced many horses over many years and just loves racing. I told him I thought the horse could go well tonight and I’m pleased he came to the races, I would have felt disappointed if he missed this.”
Joao Moreira took out the Jockey Challenge with a double, leading throughout on Mister Monte for Tony Cruz in a carbon copy of his Class Five win to open the night on another one-paced horse, the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained Glory Star.
Lor is enjoying a brilliant freshman year and he and Moreira have assembled a stunning strike rate together.
Lor has won with 14 of his 32 starts in the cellar grade and Moreira has won seven of his 11 rides for Lor in all classes, but when they pair up in Class Five, it’s the stuff of legend, producing winners seven of the eight times they’ve combined.
Glory Star was having his first run for Lor, who said there had been work to do with Glory Star’s feet to get him right, then he called on Moreira, who had won on the horse last season.
“I just said to go to the front if he could because the horse is one-paced,” Lor said. “I’m not sure why Joao has such a good strike rate on my horses – it’s just good luck I think because many times I can’t get him for a ride when I try to and the statistics might look different if I got him whenever I asked.”
Mister Monte’s win came in Class Three but Cruz had much the same story with the four-year-old as Lor did with Glory Star.
“There was not a lot of speed in the race, Mister Monte is one-paced and doesn’t accelerate when he sits behind so he’s better in front,” Cruz said.