Flying Frenchman Alexis Badel will look to use his red-hot form to snare a top-class Classic Series ride, with the popular jockey becoming a man in demand.
Badel has a full book of 10 rides at Sha Tin on Sunday as he looks to build on his brilliant short-term riding contract at Sha Tin.
While many four-year-old series hopefuls will go around at Sha Tin on Sunday, Badel will ride instead ride two seasoned horses in the Class Two features and opt to work the phones when it comes to finding a ride in the Classic Mile later this month.
“It is very open at the moment when you look at who is riding what, I need to talk to some trainers and see what is going,” he said.
With the jockey roster in a state of flux, very few rides have been secured for the lucrative HK$10 million race this early, leaving the door open to get on a strong chance.
Much of Badel’s success this season can be put down to his association with freshman trainer Douglas Whyte.
The pair has combined 14 times so far since Badel’s arrival in November for an incredible five wins and four placings.
Their strong partnership was highlighted on Wednesday at Sha Tin when Badel booted home the promising Super Wealthy in Class Three company.
The Australian import ran a slashing second placing on international day in December but won in impressive fashion at his second-up attempt.
Badel praised Whyte’s horsemanship, saying he worked with the 13-time champion jockey to iron out any mistakes in the four-year-old’s running style.
“It is a very nice horse, his first run on debut was very good, very impressive, but we had to teach him a little bit how to relax because the horse was a little bit too ambitious, a little bit keen,” he said.
“I didn’t push him too much after the gates opened so the horse finished very well.
“Because of his very good lesson this time around, he was able to be a bit closer to the pace, even with the bad gate.
“I have a lot of confidence from the trainer, which was absolutely perfect because I had the opportunity to adapt depending on what the pace was like, and put him in a comfortable position.”
Badel will again combine with Whyte’s Easy Go Easy Win in the Class Two Caroline Hill Handicap (1,800m) after he stole an unlikely win last month after dropping in class.
On that occasion, Badel dictated the race, leading all the way for a wire-to-wire victory after struggling in Class Two prior.
Badel will also ride the Chris So Wai-yin-trained Mr Croissant in the Class Two Broadwood Handicap (1,400m) on Sunday.
The 88-rater has been a stand-out performer for So’s stable, having never run worse than fourth in his 10 career starts
Badel will ride the four-year-old for the first time on Sunday as he looks to build on his two wins this season.
“He is a nice horse, he always seems to be racing well,” he said.
“The rating is getting pretty high for him now after he won two starts ago but he is always fighting, always giving his best.”
If Badel was able to salute on Mr Croissant, he would break a run of outs for So, who has only managed one victory since November 17.