While Alexis Badel has a couple of exciting rides at Sha Tin on Sunday, the highlight of the Frenchman’s week may have already come and gone at Friday morning’s trials.
Badel partnered the Richard Gibson-trained Wellington to a comfortable victory in a 1,050m hit-out on the all-weather track, the speedster’s first trial since suffering a niggle which kept him out of his intended return in the Group Two Premier Bowl last month.
“I just tried to keep the horse happy and give him a smooth run and he responded well,” Badel said after allowing Wellington to build into his work from a wide draw before assuming control in the straight.
After partnering Wellington to victory in April’s Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize, Badel is bullish about what the galloper can produce against a sprinting ranks that remains wide open should he reach December’s Hong Kong International Races in full fitness.
Gibson is hopeful Wellington will race for the first time since the Chairman’s Sprint Prize in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint (1,200m) on November 21.
“It was a nice trial, we’re trying to prep him for this race in a couple of weeks,” the Englishman said. “It hasn’t been a smooth preparation but I think we’re making progress. I have a huge team of people working behind me and I’m grateful for their dedication and hopefully we can get him across the line.”
Another galloper Badel could find himself aboard on international day is Tourbillon Diamond and the jockey hopes this weekend’s Group Three Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1,800m) can prove another stepping stone towards a Group One appearance.
The Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained five-year-old has produced close placings over 1,400m and 1,600m in his past two starts and looks poised to appreciate the step-up in trip.
“He’s getting back to his best form so he should run a good race, I look forward to seeing how he goes,” Badel said.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Badel will be looking to continue his productive association with Manfred Man Ka-leung’s Trillion Win in the Class Two Ahava Handicap (1,200m).
The five-year-old is in the form of his life after knocking off the likes of Naboo Attack and Fantastic Treasure on his way to consecutive victories and Badel knows what he has to do to give the galloper the best chance of ringing up a hat-trick.
“I don’t know if he can win again but if he does I don’t think he will win by far because he’s still a bit immature and he looks around, so I’ll try not to go too early with him,” he said.
Trillion Win has moved to a rating of 94 and will carry 127 pounds from gate one in a contest featuring Wishful Thinker, Lucky More and Fantastic Way.
“The horse has improved a lot and he’s drawn inside once again. While he has improved, he’s getting high in the handicap but I believe he can still be competitive. He’s a very nice horse,” Badel said.
Rounding out Badel’s book are Super Kin, Dr Winning, Go Go Sixteen, Entrusted and All Beauty.