Alexis Badel and Karis Teetan in line to renew associations with top guns Romantic Warrior and Welli
Jockeys Alexis Badel and Karis Teetan were all class during trying circumstances at Sunday’s Longines Hong Kong International Races, and the pair will be counting down the days until they can renew their associations with respective superstars Wellington and Romantic Warrior.
Badel, who rode Wellington in his first three Group One successes, had to watch on as Ryan Moore enjoyed Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) glory aboard Richard Gibson’s speedster, while it was James McDonald who partnered Romantic Warrior to his dominant Group One Hong Kong Cup (2,000m) success after Teetan was recently sidelined by a thyroid condition.
Teetan was in the saddle for Romantic Warrior’s wins in last season’s Hong Kong Derby and QE II Cup and the Mauritian paid the star four-year-old a visit on Monday morning to congratulate him on his big win.
Teetan returned to the saddle on Wednesday after nearly three months on the sidelines and trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing said that, all going well, he’ll reunite with Romantic Warrior for next month’s Group One Stewards’ Cup (1,600m).
“The plan is to run Romantic Warrior in the Stewards’ Cup and if Karis is well physically and he’s confident, then I’ll definitely give him the ride,” Shum said.
On confirming Romantic Warrior has pulled up well from Sunday’s demolition job, Shum reiterated his hopes to target this term’s Triple Crown – which comprises the Stewards’ Cup, the Gold Cup (2,000m) and the Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m).
It’s a feat that’s only been accomplished once – by River Verdon back in 1994 – and Shum believes it’s achievable with “absolutely” the best horse he’s ever had.
“I think he can win the Triple Crown, so we don’t plan to travel this season,” he said.
Frenchman Badel was at Sha Tin on Sunday with wife Eva and joined connections in Wellington’s winning photo before tweeting his congratulations.
Badel has been sidelined since injuring his shoulder and ankle in a fall on November 20 but is recovering from surgery well and has said he’s hopeful of a return to race riding in early January.
Wellington is “in good nick” after his impressive victory and the six-year-old will set his sights on the Group One Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m) on February 5, with Badel to take the reins.
“It’ll be terrific to get Alexis back in action,” Gibson said.
Wellington will look to complete the set of Hong Kong’s four Group One sprints in the Centenary Sprint Cup, before turning his attention to defending his Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m) and Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) crowns.
Gibson has floated the prospect of taking Wellington to Royal Ascot in June but will look to plunder as many riches on home soil first.
“There’s a fantastic sprint programme in Hong Kong and a great deal of prize money and fame to be won, so that’s always our priority. At the end of all that, we’ll see where we’re at,” he said.
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