Alexis Badel will jet out of Hong Kong later this month to return home to ride in Europe but the Frenchman is hoping to take some excess baggage with him.
Badel has been no stranger to silverware during his three-month stint in Hong Kong, but he is confident he can go out with a bang with a string of big race wins before his final day of riding of February 17.
The 28-year-old has won eight times so far, but five of those have come in Class Two or above, including a dramatic Group Three win last month which saw him fall off Simply Brilliant after the winning post.
He can also lay claim to being one of the more unlucky jockeys, riding almost twice as many runners-up as he has winners.
With a host of big races approaches, Badel is confident he has the right book of rides to send himself home a winner.
The first of Badel’s big races comes with Morethanlucky in the Class One Chinese New Year Cup (1,400m) on Thursday.
Badel found himself riding the horse after regular jockey Karis Teetan committed to a different ride in the Group Three Chinese Club Challenge Cup on New Year’s Day.
The pair finished an unlucky second behind potential star Conte on the day, leading Badel to believe he is a strong hope in the six-horse field on Thursday.
“He is a nice and consistent horse, everyone knows that. Last time, it was a strong run from him, I was carrying a light weight which was very helpful,” he said.
“I expect something similar, the field is also very small, he can lead, he can sit behind the pace, he is very easy.”
Conte takes the step up to G3 company in his powerful stride to land the Chinese Club Challenge Cup. John Size's gelding gradually asserts over the gallant Morethanlucky, giving Joao Moreira a treble and taking his own record to seven wins from nine starts. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/JoPwJTlzuR— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) January 1, 2019
He was also full of praise for Morethanlucky’s trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen, who has turned the fortunes of the now five-year-old around significantly.
The New Zealand import came to former trainer Benno Yung Tin-pang in 2017 rated 66 but had fallen to 53 by the time it reached Lor at the start of the 2017-18 season.
Lor has now almost doubled that rating in his 14 starts since, currently sitting at 103.
“He is a fantastic guy – a gentleman – and he is very patient with horses, a real horseman. It is very good to ride for him,” Badel said of Lor.
“Karis was confirmed on another ride in the Group Three when I ran second, so Frankie has been good with me, he gave me the opportunity to ride him again.”
Badel’s final day of riding in Hong Kong will see him jump aboard Simply Brilliant again in the Group One Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m), along with partnering Harmony Victory in the Classic Cup.
With his last ride on Simply Brilliant leaving him with a broken wrist, Badel said he was grateful to be back at the races so quickly.
“I have good rides coming, it was a shame to break my wrist because I have missed maybe four or five winners,” he said.
“It’s OK but, I feel good, it could have been much worse.”