In-form Frenchman Alexis Badel knows he is taking the reins of a transformed horse when he jumps aboard Tashidelek at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
The six-year-old has gone from money muncher to punters’ pal in the space of two starts since transferring to Douglas Whyte’s stable and Badel is just happy to be along for the ride.
Previously a 20-start maiden, Tashidelek has a perfect two-from-two record for Whyte and Badel thinks it is clear the horse is enjoying racing for the first time.
“The horse feels really good, he is happy at the races. You can feel it when you jump on a horse that is happy to be here,” he said. “He is a good-looking horse and he is doing really well.”
Tashidelek began his Hong Kong career under the care of Jimmy Ting Koon-ho, arriving with a rating of 76 after a stint in Australia with Chris Waller.
After going winless, connections moved him to John Moore’s stable where he was beaten as a short-priced favourite six times in 14 starts.
Moore’s compulsory retirement at the end of last season brought about another change of yard, this time to Whyte, where he has flourished.
Badel is looking to post three consecutive wins aboard Tashidelek in the Class Three Thomson Handicap (1,800m), where he will carry just three pounds more than his last-start victory over the same trip.
“He is a staying type so it is necessary to keep rolling with him, but without being too aggressive at the beginning because he takes some time to get rolling,” Badel said.
“Both races I was a bit lucky with the pace, they didn’t go fast so I could keep rolling and then the horse hit the line strongly.
“It is a little bit more difficult with this weight we have, but I believe the horse is in good form and we have plenty of confidence so I hope we can do something similar.
“It is all dependent on the pace, if I can put the horse in a good position and save some energy, he will finish well.”
Tashidelek will line up against consistent types Namjong Plus, Blastoise, Clement Legend and Cheerful Leader in the contest.
Badel, who will make his first appearance in the International Jockeys’ Championship next week when he represents Hong Kong, enjoyed a strong November, with his eight winners putting him on level pegging with champion rider Zac Purton.
Badel enjoys a strong book of seven rides on Wednesday night, including winning chances on Dynamic Eagle, Go Ballistic and Harmony And Rich.