Gun French jockey Alexis Badel says he cannot afford to question himself about what might have come from a sickening fall he suffered in France during the Hong Kong racing off-season, believing he is as comfortable as ever in the saddle.
Badel, still sporting the scars from the fall which saw his face fractured in a number of places, said he is excited to be back in Hong Kong on a short-term licence which will see him stay until February 28.
With a permanent metal plate in his cheek acting as a constant reminder of the fall at Lion d’Angers racecourse in August, Badel said he has not lost any of his trademark strength or courage which made him an instant hit with trainers in Hong Kong.
“I didn’t ask any questions of myself after that fall, I didn’t give myself the opportunity to have any doubt. I said ‘you have to get up and you have to go on from it’,” Badel said.
“It was a big fall but that is reality, that is my life now, I race horses so I cannot have any doubt going forward.
“I wanted to come back racing earlier but I had to wait a little bit because it was a big fracture.”
Badel was trampled by two horses while on the ground after clipping heels in a tightly packed bunch of horses, causing his mount to fall.
The Frenchman’s return to Sha Tin comes just a week after his wife gave birth to their first child, a baby daughter.
With six rides on Sunday afternoon along with seven bookings for Wednesday night, Badel said he was juggling form commitments along with fatherhood duties back home before travelling to Hong Kong on Saturday.
“It is easier when you are here to get down and work, study the form,” he said. “In France I had so many races to ride, I was having to study in between the races and I had to get up at night to talk to the trainers so it wasn’t very easy at all. Now I hope it is going to be better.”
Badel almost tasted immediate success on his return with a second placing on Time Warp in the Group Three Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse but was hunted down in the shadows of the post.
It was one of three placings on the day as he looks to better his 10-win stint last season which included Group Three success on Simply Brilliant at Happy Valley.
“I think it is a good start, I had good races on Sunday, I didn’t have many excuses so that is all you can ask,” he said.
“If the trainers are happy with that, that makes me happy because it means I am doing my job well.
It was good support from many trainers, we will try to keep it going.
“I am so happy to be back here, it is always the same feeling when you get off the plane and you feel that atmosphere.”
Badel’s popularity between the Hong Kong trainers is well represented on Wednesday night.
He will ride for a total of six trainers, including a number of winning chances such as Buoyant Boy, Khaki and Winning Ways.
“I could have more [rides] but some got [balloted] out and I had a horse change plans at the last minute. I think it is a good first week,” Badel said.