He might fall short of the 58 winners he amassed in his first full Hong Kong campaign last term but it will matter little when Alexis Badel one day reflects on season 2021-22.
The Frenchman snared his second Group One of the season aboard superb sprinter Wellington at Sha Tin on Sunday and despite a string of careless riding suspensions that have curtailed his overall numbers, it has been a campaign to remember.
“Wellington was incredible, he’s a dream of a horse and I feel very grateful to be associated with him. He’s just an amazing racehorse,” he said.
“It would have been very disappointing not to perform on Wellington on Sunday so it’s very nice to achieve a second Group One win on the horse this season.
Back-to-back! Wellington defends his crown in the G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize for @AlexisBadel and Richard Gibson. #FWDChampionsDay #HKracing pic.twitter.com/839Ltc5bLR— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 24, 2022
“It’s been a great season but there have been too many suspensions, which have cost me momentum. It’s so competitive here so when you get suspended you lose good rides and it can be hard to get back on.”
Badel, who pinched second behind Romantic Warrior aboard $21 chance Tourbillon Diamond in the QE II Cup on the weekend, also has three Group Three victories and a Group Two win among his 35 successes this season and he will be pushing to see how close he can get to last season’s win tally with 23 meetings remaining in the term.
Wellington joins star-studded list with back-to-back Chairman’s Sprint Prize wins
He partners a galloper he tasted Group success aboard last campaign at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, reuniting with the Caspar Fownes-trained Explosive Witness in the Class Two Cheong Ming Handicap (1,000m).
Badel hasn’t ridden Explosive Witness in over a year but was in the saddle for his most recent victory, which came in the Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m) on New Year’s Day last year.
The Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (G3)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) January 1, 2021
1000m, 3.500.000 HKD, for 4yo+
Explosive Witness (AUS)
(6G Star Witness - Rocket Baby, by Danzero)
J : A. Badel
T :C. Fownes
O : Connie Siu Kim Ying
B : Golden Grove Stud Farm, Vic
🥉Big Party (AUS) pic.twitter.com/ZEz8HvIrv8
The seven-year-old’s rating reached a career-high mark of 99 following that win but has dropped to 91 ahead of Wednesday night’s contest, where he will carry 124 pounds and jump from gate six in a race featuring the likes of Nervous Witness, Voyage Warrior and Stoltz.
“It looks like the horse is in good form judging by his recent trial and Happy Valley suits him very well,” Badel said.
“He’s got class and hopefully he can produce his best. I’m confident he can put in a good performance.”
One of the better chances among Badel’s seven rides at the midweek meeting looks to come in the form of the John Size-trained Toronado Phantom, who lines up in the Class Three Min Fat Handicap (1,200m).
Big win! 🔥 @zpurton seals a four-timer as Toronado Phantom loops the field. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/YfL6pn7pjA— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 6, 2022
The gelding has won two of his eight starts this season and looks well placed to give the Badel-Size combination a fourth victory of the term after finishing runner-up in his most recent outing.
“He’s in very good form and it’s always great to have support from John Size. He looks a very competitive ride and I’m looking forward to getting aboard,” Badel said.
Rounding out Badel’s book are Triple Triple, Vector, Super Elegance, King Dragon and Bella Baby.