Alexis Badel is pleased to see his “calculated risk” paying off after booting home his first winner since a nasty fall in November that left him with a dislocated shoulder and fractured ankle.
Badel pushed himself during his recovery and just seven weeks passed between his fall from Fantastic Way on November 20 and his return at Sha Tin on January 8.
That determination was rewarded at Sha Tin on Sunday, with the Frenchman saluting aboard the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Fighting Star to taste success for the first time since November 12.
“It was great to be back winning again,” Badel said. “I’m very happy with the timing of my first winner back, Hong Kong is a very difficult place anyway and especially when you’re coming back from a suspension, let alone an injury.
“To come back after seven weeks following such a bad injury and have a winner at my third meeting back is a great result. To expect any more would have been greedy.
“Obviously I came back quickly, not because I wanted to rush things but in such a competitive environment you have to push yourself a bit. I took a calculated risk – that is just part of the competition.”
Badel confirmed he is fighting fit after three meetings back, and will look to build on his 12 winners so far this campaign and work his way up the jockeys’ premiership table from his current 11th position to something closer to the sixth-placed finish and the 50 winners he managed last season.
“I’m feeling good and I’ve been pleased with how quickly I’ve regained my fitness since being back in the saddle,” he said.
Badel is no stranger to nasty falls – he suffered multiple facial fractures in a tumble in France in 2019 – and his focus is solely on his six rides at Happy Valley on Wednesday, rather than anything that has happened in the past.
“It’s behind me now and I’m very lucky to be doing what I love,” he said.
While there doesn’t look to be a stand-out among Badel’s midweek hand, he thinks his book is “pretty good, I’ve got a couple of good draws and hopefully there is more success ahead”.
The Pierre Ng Pang-chi-trained Happy Angel has reserved his best form for Happy Valley this season and returns to the city circuit after finishing seventh at Sha Tin last time out.
Before that, the five-year-old ran second over the extended Valley mile and third when stepping up to 1,800m, and he will stretch out further in trip again for the Class Four Jackson Handicap (2,200m).
Happy Angel is one of Badel’s mounts that has drawn kindly, scoring barrier one, while Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s Happy Won jumps from gate three in the Class Four Hong Kong Club Challenge Cup (1,650m).
Happy Won makes the switch to Happy Valley after a best finish of second from four Sha Tin runs, and steps up in trip after a last-start sixth at 1,400m.
Rounding out Badel’s book are Blustitch, Our Creed, Oversubscribed and Master Tornado.