Badel mulls G3 National Day Cup tactics for Cordyceps Six

Leo Schlink

30/09/2022 12:25

Alexis Badel reunites with Cordyceps Six.
Alexis Badel reunites with Cordyceps Six.

Alert to the possibility of a slower than expected tempo, Alexis Badel will trade on Cordyceps Six’s versatility and devastating acceleration as the pair bids for G3 National Day Cup Handicap (1000m) honours at Sha Tin on Saturday (1 October).

Bidding to continue the form which delivered five wins from nine starts last season and a rise in the handicaps from 60 to 107, Cordyceps Six marched from Class 4 to Group 3 victory in 2021/22 – often with barnstorming finishes.

Badel won the 2021 National Day Cup on Super Wealthy – who combines tomorrow with Zac Purton – and believes Cordyceps Six has the scope to sit closer behind expected leader Harmony And Rich if the circumstances warrant in the seven-horse field before unleashing powerfully.

“I don’t think the pace will be overly quick because it’s a small field and a few horses in the race need to relax a little bit to be able to finish the race off,” the Frenchman said. “I think there’s only one or two potential leaders, so they might not be burning themselves as a bigger field could.

“I’m happy with where I’m drawn (barrier one) because it gives me the opportunity to get a clear run if the pace is not fast enough for me.”

Cordyceps Six closed 2021/22 in style.
Cordyceps Six closed 2021/22 in style.

Badel partnered Cordyceps Six to narrow success in the G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) in May, when he steamed late to claim Nervous Witness in a field which also included three of tomorrow’s protagonists – Lucky Patch (third), Super Wealthy (fifth) and Sky Field (seventh).

“I think it was a very tough effort when he won that Group 3, he picked up inside horses, came through the gap and he was strong on the line. He showed some class,” Badel said.

Represented by G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) winner Sky Field (135lb), Caspar Fownes believes Richard Gibson-trained Cordyceps Six (123lb) is the horse to beat under the handicap conditions.

“Sky Field ran extremely well in this race last season (when second) and he’ll be doing the same, he’ll be working home,” Fownes said. “In these handicap events, when you’re carrying 135lb and you’ve got some really nice young horses in there like Gibson’s horse – who I would say would be the favourite in the race - he looks to be the one that’s going to keep progressing.

“But my guy is in great form and will run his race and once he gets to set weights, he’ll be better suited. He’s done extremely well in the summer, so I think he needs a little bit of racing to really strip him fit this campaign and it will be beneficial to him leading into the big races.”

With 11 wins and nine placings from 52 rides this term, Purton is hopeful Super Wealthy can repeat his 2021 triumph.

“He goes well up the straight, he copped a lot of interference in that melee last start so it’s hard to get a good line on his true performance but he seemed to run well,” Purton said of Super Wealthy’s fourth to Lucky Sweynesse in the Class 1 HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup Handicap (1200m) on 11 September.

Super Wealthy wins the 2021 G3 National Day Cup Handicap.
Super Wealthy wins the 2021 G3 National Day Cup Handicap.

“He’s got to carry the weight (130lb), he’s a big horse, he’s got the outside fence. When there’s no false rail it makes the outside a more preferable place to be. We’ll see what he can do.”

Bidding to build on a Happy Valley double on Wednesday (28 September), Badel also rides John Size pair Bourbonaire and Power Koepp tomorrow.

“He seems like he’s got natural ability on softer ground and it’s nice to see a bit of rain for him. Hopefully he can take advantage of it,” Badel said, referring to Bourbonaire’s prospects in the Class 2 Beijing Handicap (1600m).

Power Koepp (135lb) contests the second section of the Class 3 Shanghai Handicap (1200m) and Badel hopes the gelding can slot his third victory from 12 starts in Hong Kong.

“His last run was okay, he carried a lot of weight from a wide gate but he gave me a nice feel. I think he should be able to win again this season,” Badel said.

Saturday’s (1 October) 10-race card at Sha Tin starts with the Class 5 Shenyang Handicap (1800m) at 1pm.

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