When Joao Moreira is out of action, every jockey in Hong Kong knows there are some nice rides up for grabs.
With the Magic Man ruled out for two meetings after receiving a ban for careless riding at Sha Tin last weekend and his title rival Zac Purton already “locked in” to most of his mounts, the phones of the city’s leading trainers must have been red-hot.
At first glance, it appears that Alexis Badel must be the sweetest talker in the weighing room as he has picked up the best ride available on the Sha Tin card in the shape of Running Glory in the Class Two Alnwick Handicap (1,600m).
The four-year-old has been partnered by Moreira in all seven of his starts and his latest victory, his fourth of the season, has resulted in him moving into this level for the first time and Badel is confident his mount will cope with the jump in class.
“It seems like [Class Two] will be OK for him,” Badel said. “He’s on a rating of 81 and being the bottom weight in Class Two is always good. I think he has showed quality and consistency so I think he is going to be running well.”
Running Glory was strong at the finish last time on his first attempt at 1,800m but drops in trip as he aims to complete a hat-trick.
“It’s not a big field so maybe it’s going to be a tactical race with a sprint home,” Badel said. “He’s certainly the horse you want to be on, the horse seems to be in good form and Mr Size is always a good trainer to ride for. Hopefully I can deliver.”
The Frenchman has been aboard the Size-trained Brilliant Way for his past two starts and he did well to finish fifth from a bad draw last time out, but the galloper has been handed another double-figure stall in the Class Three Cornwall Handicap (1,200m).
“He ran OK last start, the track conditions were set up for the leaders,” Badel said. “From my outside gate I needed to get some cover and the race was set up for the leaders, so the wide gate was not an advantage but hopefully on Sunday it will be different.”
Size is still basking in the glory of training his 1,400th Hong Kong winner at Happy Valley on Wednesday night as he prepares to put a saddle on runners in the last eight races on Sunday.
“There have been some good horses among them,” Size said. “There have been some outstanding champions in Hong Kong and I don’t think I’ve had one of those, but just some nice horses who have won plenty of races.
“Every new number or new milestone that comes up is very gratifying. You can’t deny the mathematics, the figure is there and it’s there forever.”
Size unleashes newcomer Beauty Tycoon in the Class Four Dorset Handicap (1,200m) and he’s been moving well in his trials ahead of his debut.
“His trials have been fair,” Size said. “He looks like he’s well educated and does everything correctly and I think it’s time for him to go to the races and learn some more. Racing brings them to the next level and hopefully he’s ready to acquit himself well.
“He does his work quite well. He seems to have a nice attitude, he seems very kind and gentle and he might have a nice mind for racing because of his temperament.”