Jockey Alexis Badel paid tribute to Wellington after it was announced All Too Hard’s Champion Hong Kong Sprinter had been retired after suffering a bleed in a Happy Valley trial on Saturday.

“It was a fantastic adventure but all good things come to an end,” Badel told South China Morning Post.  “He’s been such a great horse for Hong Kong racing and he deserves a good retirement.  I have a lot of respect for this horse, he’s a true champion.

Badel and Wellington combined for Group 1 victories in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) twice and Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m).  All 12 of the gelding’s wins came while he was prepared by former trainer Richard Gibson, including the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) under Ryan Moore in 2022.

Wellington (7g All Too Hard – Mihiri by More Than Ready) was bred by Kia-Ora Stud in partnership with Vinery partners David Paradice and Steve McCann and sold for $70,000 at the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions.  He signs off with earnings the equivalent of AUD13.42million.

“He’s been a fantastic horse. I will always be grateful to Mr Gibson for the opportunity to ride Wellington,” Badel continued. “When I arrived in Hong Kong I was a new face, so I’m grateful for the support.  The owners Michael and Jeffrey Cheng have been great to me, very understanding all the way. They really allowed me to ride the horse with no pressure, to ride the horse for the horse.”

Badel was in the saddle for Saturday morning’s trial and was set to ride him in next month’s Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.  “By the time he did his stand-down of three months, he wasn’t going to be ready for Champions Day and obviously it’s a long wait until next season,” trainer Jamie Richards said.  “He’s been such a great campaigner for his owners and we would hate for anything to happen to him, so he’s been retired as a sound and happy horse.

The news out of Hong Kong comes just a few weeks after fellow All Too Hard 7yo Alligator Blood was sidelined indefinitely following a pastern injury sustained during trackwork at Randwick.  “He will be out for a year and we are hoping he may come back and race again,” co-trainer Gai Waterhouse reported.  “I have probably only ever had one or two as good. He’s such a special horse.”