Hong Kong racing’s infatuation with in vogue Frenchman Alexis Badel is reciprocal but commitments in his homeland mean he won’t reconsider a second extension of what has been a lucrative winter stint.
Badel’s double aboard Beaut Beaut and C P Power on Sunday gives him five wins from the past four meetings and an impressive 14 winners from 172 rides since arriving in November.
The 28-year-old had already extended his licence through to February 18 but said he would honour his commitment to be stable jockey for Chantilly-based handler Henri-Francois Devin.
“I love Hong Kong but I cannot stay any longer this season,” Badel said. “I cannot change my plans because things are going well here. Henri-Francois has 80 horses and I need to go back and help prepare for the season.”
Badel wouldn’t rule out a full-time role in the future but would “definitely” be interested in returning for another mid-season tenure next term.
“I will be back for next winter, 100 per cent, I’ve made a big effort to adapt here so I want to return,” he said. “Of course, I will consider all possibilities. But I am still young and everything has happened so fast.”
Beaut Beaut’s Class Four win means Badel has now ridden winners for six different trainers, adding Peter Ho Leung to the list.
The four-year-old had been ridden aggressively at his last two starts but more patient tactics up in trip paid off.
“Peter just told me to take my time and to try not to be too ambitious during the first half of the race,” Badel said.
“This time, ridden like that, the horse gave me a very nice turn of foot and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it again. He is only a young horse, and maybe he won’t be a superstar, but if he is ridden patiently like that he can continue to improve.”
Badel was riding the Tony Millard-trained C P Power for the third straight start and the lightweight’s familiarity with the tricky sprinter as much as his in-race stalking tactics resulted in the narrow win.
First, Badel got C P Power to begin well, which hasn’t been a given for the gelding in recent times, and then “followed the favourites” into the straight.
“I know the horse very well, last time he missed the break, he isn’t an easy horse in the gates. But this time he jumped perfectly and that meant I had a lovely position midfield. First, I was behind the favourite [Infinity Endeavour] and then I just tried to save ground on the turn, and got behind Derek [Leung Ka-chun] on Turin Redstar, because I could see he was travelling well. Then I was able to catch him on the line.”