Alexis Badel suffered a dislocated shoulder in a nasty fall on Sunday, with Fantastic Way breaking down in front of the Sha Tin stand after hitting the lead 50m from home.
After witnessing the superb Group Two wins of Lucky Sweynesse, Golden Sixty and Romantic Warrior, the crowd of 13,692 fans – the biggest since January – left with a sour taste in their mouths, the confronting incident happening close to the winning post.
Badel was able to stand and walk off the track before being taken to hospital for further examination.
There is the possibility Badel also has a fractured ankle, and he has been ruled out of Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting, while John Size-trained Fantastic Way was humanely euthanised after the fall. David Hayes-trained Oriental Smoke went onto win the race.
Jack Wong Ho-nam escaped injury after a fall of his own in the same race, with Highland Fortune throwing off the jockey after stumbling at the start.
Wong managed to hang on for a period before swinging around the front of Highland Fortune and letting go of the reins, taking out a couple of the plastic legs that hold the running rail.
Barzalona takes it all in his Stride
Mickael Barzalona got his eye in ahead of next month’s Longines Hong Kong International Races, landing his first winner on the Sha Tin turf aboard Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained debutant Mighty Stride.
Barzalona made the most of his flying trip, which only came about because of the Covid-19 uncertainty surrounding Zac Purton and Hugh Bowman earlier this week.
Barzalona, who jetted in from France, was tasting success in Hong Kong for just the third time, adding to a victory at Happy Valley during last year’s International Jockeys’ Championship (IJC) and an all-weather track success back in 2011.
“It’s always a privilege to ride here, and to get that winner is even better,” he said. “I arrived this morning, fly back tonight, just came in for the day, and I’m going to come back for the IJC and international day in December.”
While Bowman was deemed a Covid-19 close contact of an infected family member after arriving in Hong Kong on Sunday, that test result proved to be a false positive and he was freed from isolation on Tuesday.
Purton had to wait until Sunday to be given the all-clear after testing positive himself, with Barzalona in line to pick up three of the Australian’s rides if he was not available.
While that did not eventuate, Barzalona did need to step up to fill the void left by fellow Frenchman Antoine Hamelin, who tested positive on Sunday morning.
Hamelin was stood down from his four rides, with Barzalona picking up the mounts on Precise Express, Superbella and Toronado Phantom for a best finish of eighth.
The Jockey Club confirmed Hamelin “cannot ride until further notice”, and it is expected he will also miss Wednesday night’s Happy Valley fixture.
While some questioned whether flying Barzalona in was necessary, Yiu was certainly pleased to see the 31-year-old.
“I’ve always liked this jockey, he can ride light and it was good to be able to get him to ride for me,” he said after Mighty Stride’s half-length victory in the Class Four BOCHK SME In One Handicap (1,200m).
“Mighty Stride’s last two trials in Conghua were eye-catching. He’ll progress as he gets more mature, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he can win over a mile.”
Bowman back in business
Bowman was also among the winners on his return to Hong Kong, with the 42-year-old putting a roller-coaster week behind him to salute aboard David Hall-trained Good Buddy in the Class Three BOCHK BOC Pay Handicap (1,400m).
Bowman missed out on two winners after being relieved of his mounts at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, but a cool ride aboard Good Buddy ensured he did not have to wait any longer for his first Hong Kong victory since Furore’s Derby success in 2019.
“It was great to ride a winner. Working him here on Thursday morning, he gave me an exceptional feel, and he was very well placed with a good draw,” said Bowman, who is in Hong Kong for a three-month stint.
“He’s been knocking on the door and everything went his way today. It’s great to get on the board with a winner. I was a bit unlucky early on with [War Weapon], but that’s racing. I’d like to think I’ll get a bit more rhythm with a few more rides.”
HK flavour in Singapore
One-time Sha Tin dirt specialist Hongkong Great is a Singapore Group One winner after taking out the Gold Cup at Kranji on Saturday.
🏆Singapore Gold Cup (G1)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) November 19, 2022
2000m, 1,000,000 SGD
Hongkong Great (CHI)
(7G Lookin At Lucky - La Sinverguenza, by Scat Daddy)
J : Mark Zahra
T : Ricardo Le Grange
O :Yue Kwok Yin Edmond
B :Haras Paso Nevado pic.twitter.com/YXbGV2ozIh
Hongkong Great won three times from 11 runs on the Sha Tin all-weather track but produced a best finish of sixth from three attempts on the turf while trained by Danny Shum Chap-shing. However, he did win three Group Ones on turf in his native Chile before being sold to Hong Kong.
Elsewhere at Kranji, the connections of Lim’s Kosciuszko are hoping the five-year-old’s win in the Class One Tropaios Stakes (1,200m) will be enough to earn the speedster a berth in next month’s Group One Hong Kong Sprint when the fields for international day are released by the Jockey Club on Wednesday.