Riding high after his win aboard Wellington, the Frenchman enters the Queen Mother Memorial Cup with a live chance at Sha Tin on Sunday
He’s spent the week riding high after his first Group One win in Hong Kong and Alexis Badel is primed to chase more feature-race success in the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup (2,400m) at Sha Tin.
After snaring the Chairman’s Sprint Prize aboard Wellington last weekend, Badel has picked up the ride on up-and-coming stayer Charity Fun for Sunday’s contest as he looks to continue his strong campaign.
Badel’s win aboard Wellington followed his Classic Cup victory with Healthy Happy in February and the 31-year-old is thriving in his first full season at Sha Tin after a number of short-term stints.
“Being able to deliver in such a big race is just an amazing feeling,” said Badel, who has 47 winners through 67 of the 88 meetings and sits fifth in the jockeys’ premiership.
“I’ve been here for a few short-term contracts and it helped me a lot in building connections. People know me so when I decided to move here I didn’t start from zero. It was all about building momentum at the beginning of the season and now it’s going well.”
Badel rides Charity Fun for the first time and believes the four-year-old is dangerous at the bottom of the weights.
“Obviously the weight he is going to carry is a huge advantage in a race like that over 2,400m. He’s in good form, he looks very fit and it seems like he’s a very good horse – everything looks ideal,” the Frenchman said.
While Karis Teetan was in the saddle for Charity Fun’s first three starts, Zac Purton has been aboard as the galloper has strung together consecutive victories but the minimum impost opened the door for Badel.
“He’s very easy to ride and a very quiet horse,” said Badel, who has worked the horse twice in the past fortnight.
Charity Fun tackles Derby placegetters Russian Emperor and Panfield, as well as the likes of Columbus County, Butterfield and Savaquin.
Also in the race is defending champion Chefano and 2019 winner Ho Ho Khan, with neither horse having won a race since.
Chefano has his second start for Paul O’Sullivan after joining the New Zealander’s yard from David Hayes but the six-year-old has struggled since leaving the care of John Moore at the end of last season.
“I trialled him before his last start and he trialled terribly and then he raced terribly, he wasn’t chasing at all,” O’Sullivan said.
“I trialled him the other day and it was an improvement on his first run and he’ll hopefully be a little bit fitter for the run.”
Ho Ho Khan’s win in the race came on good-to-yielding ground and jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu knows the David Hall-trained six-year-old needs some rain to show his best.
“It’s the right distance for him but it looks like blue skies. I hope for some rain for him, it’s better for him,” Ho said.
“He’s still got ability but his rating has been up pretty high so it’s been tough for him. Health-wise he is fine, his form is OK and he always tries – there’s not many races for him each season so I will try to make it count.”
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