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Hong Kong: Badel, Lane set to excel in Jockeys Championship

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

December 8th, 2021

As some of the world’s best horses tune up for the Hong Kong International raceday, several of their jockeys have their own rich prize to aim at four days beforehand.

Eight leading jockeys from around the world compete against four locally-based riders over four races Dec. 8 in the International Jockeys Championship, each looking to win the first prize of HK$500,000 (about $64,000).

Not only do they need to beat top-class opposition, they are doing so on the tough Happy Valley racetrack, which with its turning 1425m (7.25 furlongs) circumference and 338m (about 1.7 furlongs) stretch is a serious riding challenge.

Competing are Britain’s first couple of racing, Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle, along with fellow Brit Ryan Moore; Frenchman Mickael Barzalona; South Africa’s Lyle Hewitson; Australia-based New Zealander James McDonald; top Australian rider Damian Lane; Japan’s Yuga Kawada; top locally-born Hong Kong jockey Vincent Ho; and three other successful Hong Kong riders who hail from abroad: Australia’s Zac Purton, Brazil’s Joao Moreira, and France’s Alexis Badel.

With each rider’s mounts drawn at random, they generally don’t know the horses they are riding, with even the Hong Kong riders having drawn mostly horses they have hardly ridden.

As riders only get points in each of the four races for finishing in the top three, punters who think they know who will win the competition can make money by backing their fancy in the four races.

The most fancied riders are unsurprisingly the globetrotting Moore, who won this title in 2009 and 2010, and the Purton, winner in 2017 and 2020, and both have drawn well-supported chances in each of the four races.

None of Purton’s rides look like starting favorite, however, and while Moore does have one favorite – AI One in Race 5 – it might pay to look elsewhere for a winner, and two great prospects might be Badel and Lane.

Badel has drawn the highly consistent Fabulous Eight in Race 4, and in Race 7 he has the rare advantage of riding a horse he knows – Nothing New, one of the favorites after a last-start second for Badel. He also has a decent chance in Race 5 with Zhan Jiang Rocks.

Lane has one likely winner with California Cible in Race 8, and decent chances aboard Dr Winning (Race 5) and Gallant Crown (Race 7).

I’m going to suggest a variety of bets in the Jockey Challenge races, focusing on Badel and Lane. If either wins the Challenge, they should prove nice investments.

 

JOCKEYS CHALLENGE PLAYS

 

Race 4:

$6 win/show #2 Fabulous Eight

$4 show: #5 Flying High

 

Race 5:

$4 win/$8 show: #9 Dr Winning

$4 show: #12 Zhan Jiang Rocks

 

Race 7:

$2 win/$6 show: #6 Gallant Crown

$2 win/$6 show: #11 Nothing New

 

Race 8:

$4 show: #4 Resolute

$8 win/show: #7 California Cible

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