Most jockeys would be thrilled to ride 50 winners in a season but Alexis Badel is not focused on numbers.
The Frenchman has won eight Group races this season, more than any other Hong Kong rider, and it’s the quality rather than the quantity of the victories that leaves him satisfied with his efforts this campaign.
“I really wanted to find good horses during my career in Hong Kong,” Badel said. “I think having plenty of winners is certainly something good but having Group One winners is very important and that’s a great achievement in a jockey’s career, so I’m grateful, lucky and it feels incredible to be winning Group One races in Hong Kong.”
Badel’s two Group One wins this season have come aboard Wellington and the rider is thrilled to be reaping the rewards for the part he played in the early development of Richard Gibson’s talented sprinter.
“What is really amazing about Wellington is that I rode him in a trial before his first ever race,” Badel said.
“I also rode him on his debut and I knew he had something special, but I couldn’t stay in Hong Kong for that period.
Badel looks to finish the season full of running after ‘incredible’ Wellington win
“It was an amazing feeling to get back on him when I returned after such a long time back in France. I got back on him at the right time and he’s now become the horse I always thought he was. You need a bit of luck in this job and I got it.”
It’s not luck that took Badel to 50 winners for the season at Happy Valley on Wednesday night after he delivered a fine front-running ride aboard Ping Hai Galaxy and he is thrilled to be picking up rides for John Size as the season draws to a close.
“It’s very important to get some of the good rides for the right trainers and he is a champion,” Badel said. “I was able to pick up some top rides recently and deliver on them so I’m very happy that I’ve won on some good horses.”
Badel has a couple of big rides for Size at Sha Tin on Sunday and he has formed a good relationship with Brilliant Way. The Frenchman has partnered him to two wins this season and expects him to bounce back to form in the Class Three Stevenson Cup (1,200m).
“Last time it went all wrong,” Badel said. “He jumped a bit high in the air so I was a little bit slow and the pace wasn’t quick, so the horse wasn’t relaxed and did not travel comfortably.
“He’s still a young, progressive horse and was just a victim of a slow start and slow pace last time. I’m confident that he should run a better race.”
Beauty Fit is another consistent Size-trained runner and takes his chance in the Class Two Chow Silver Plate (1,400m).
“He had a beautiful draw last time and the blinkers seemed to help him to travel and be more generous,” Badel said. “I will study the pace very closely and choose the right tactics as it will be very tricky from his gate in stall 11.”
Badel picked up a win on the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Sweet Diamond last time and he attempts to follow up in the Class Four Li Cup (1,200m).
“He’s nice, progressive and probably has some margin to improve,” Badel said. “He’s carrying a heavy weight but he’s got a decent gate and I believe he’s in good form. He will certainly be thereabouts.”