With three Group One wins on Wellington to his name, Alexis Badel knows the attributes a horse must have to be an elite sprinter in Hong Kong.
Badel has won the Chairman’s Sprint Prize and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup on Richard Gibson’s star performer this season and has picked up the plum ride on the trainer’s Cordyceps Six in the Group Three Sha Tin Vase (1,200m) on Sunday.
The exciting youngster has not finished outside the first three in his past seven starts, is a four-time winner this season and Badel is happy to entertain comparisons between his new mount and Wellington.
“It is not stupid to compare the two horses,” Badel said. “I believe he’s got a good turn of foot and he’s only a three-year-old. He’s got plenty of time to improve but he also has great ability and he’s doing nothing wrong.
“I pick up the ride because of the weight but I’ve been looking at this horse for a while and he seems to be a young, progressive horse, so hopefully he’s going to deliver.
“He seems a very nice horse and I’m glad to be on him. His recent form is good and he feels good in the morning. I believe his place in the handicap is an advantage on this occasion. It’s a step up for him so let’s see how he goes.”
Badel is in good form, with a double at Happy Valley on Wednesday night supplementing a win on Brilliant Way in the final race at Sha Tin last weekend, and the Frenchman is back on board Tourbillon Diamond in the Group One Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m).
Danny Shum Chap-shing’s runner arguably put in a career-best effort when second to Romantic Warrior in the QE II Cup last start and Badel was happy with that performance.
“It was a great run from the horse,” Badel said. “I believe the draw helped me as I was in the right spot on the inside and saving a lot of ground.
“I was lucky enough to find a way out in the straight and he did a good job to achieve second place in the field. It was a great effort.”
Tourbillon Diamond is stretching out to 2,400m for the first time since finishing third in the Australian Derby in April 2020 but Badel is confident the distance will pose no problems.
“I’m confident the trip shouldn’t be an issue because he’s done this in the past and I will start from a good gate, so I should be able to get a good spot and relax him,” Badel said.
“I’m not sure about the tempo of the race but it will hopefully just be a normal gallop in front, which will help me to settle.
“I galloped him on the grass and he seemed OK. He’s kept his form, he moved well and he has a good attitude.”
Only Badel and Joao Moreira have a full book of 11 rides at Sha Tin and outside of the Group races on the card his best mount could well be Leading Fortune in the Class Three Viva Pataca Handicap (1,600m).
“I think he’s going to go well,” Badel said. “He seems to be in very good form, he’s been consistent this season and the gate will certainly help him. I believe he’s going to be right there.”