Alexis Badel has lost the ride aboard Wellington for the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday, with connections reuniting Ryan Moore with the galloper on whom he won the Group One Hong Kong Sprint in December when the French jockey was out of action after sustaining injuries in a race fall.
Wellington’s trainer, Richard Gibson, confirmed Moore, who will be in Hong Kong to partner John Size’s Tuchel in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2,000m), will steer the four-time Group One winner in his Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup title defence.
Moore replaces Badel – who has ridden Wellington in 14 of his 20 starts for eight victories, including three at the highest level – as Gibson’s speedster looks to bounce back from his Group One Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m) runner-up result behind rising star Lucky Sweynesse at Sha Tin on February 5.
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup sees Wellington not only lock horns with Lucky Sweynesse for a fifth time – their head-to-head score is tied at 2-2 – but also have his first clash against Group One Hong Kong Mile champion California Spangle. However, a heart irregularity means Beauty Joy is out of this weekend’s event.
It's Wellington and @AlexisBadel who grab the Group 1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup in tough conditions at Sha Tin! #HKracing pic.twitter.com/2Z6GWH59Q5— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 20, 2022
Meanwhile, the galloper Wellington ran down under Moore to claim the Hong Kong Sprint, the Size-prepared Sight Success, heads to the United Arab Emirates on Friday on the back of his Sha Tin trial triumph on Tuesday.
Sight Success is one of two Hong Kong raiders in the Group One Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m) at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night, with Duke Wai from Pierre Ng Pang-chi’s fledging stable also representing the city.
“It was a normal trial for him. There were some lower-class horses in the trial, but he seemed to go through the exercise normally. He looked good. I assume he’s going to pull up well, and he’ll be on his way,” said Size of Sight Success, whom Moore will ride in the UAE.
The Sprint goes to Hong Kong! Wellington is far too good for Ryan Moore & Richard Gibson. 🔥🔥@LONGINES #HKIR | #HKracing pic.twitter.com/MCfvk62ri3— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) December 11, 2022
“Over 1,200m, he’s always a little bit suspect at the end of the race, so it depends on the tempo. If they go really quickly, he’s vulnerable, but if they go a good, even gallop, he’s probably got a chance of running it out,” added Size, whose Amazing Kids finished sixth of 12 in the 2017 Al Quoz Sprint.
In other news, Luke Currie will ride Mr Brightside for David Hayes’ sons, Ben and JD, in Saturday’s A$5 million (HK$26 million) All-Star Mile at Moonee Valley before flying back to partner Size’s Sweet Encounter in the Derby, while Lyle Hewitson will steer the Derby’s only female contestant, four-year-old mare Bon’s A Pearla, for Hayes senior.
Currie, who has not ridden in his native Australia since January last year, got the call-up to steer Mr Brightside after Craig Williams broke several bones in last Saturday’s horror Flemington incident that also injured Classic Mile-winning jockey Jamie Kah.