Wishful Thinker puts his hoof up for Dubai with stunning Happy Valley victory

Richard Gibson, Alexis Badel and Wishful Thinker have done all they can to earn a ticket to Meydan for the World Cup meeting – now it’s just up to the decision makers at the Dubai Racing Club to give them an invite.

The talented sprinter put in a Herculean performance to win the Class One Happy Valley Trophy (1,200m) on Wednesday night, coming from last and weaving between rivals in the straight to land the prize and keep the Dubai dream alive.

Gibson has had an assault on the Group One Al Quoz Sprint in mind for Wishful Thinker for a little while and put in place a path to try and get there.

The final step was winning this race – which he did with style – so now all the connections can do is wait.

“It was [a terrific win] because he had a torrid run and he missed the jump. It was a fantastic performance from the horse,” Gibson said.

“It’s great the club gives us guys like Alexis Badel – I thought he rode him with a lot of calm and executed the plan brilliantly. I thought he was the best horse going into the race.

“He’s pretty unsuited to the track, he loves the straight [1,200m], so with a bit of luck we’ll be on our way to Dubai.”

Wishful Thinker made life harder for himself by missing the kick, but Badel was able to help him overcome that minor inconvenience.

“He’s always moving a little bit in the gates, there is nothing you can do as a jockey, you just try to relax him because he is his own worst enemy,” Badel said.

“[In the straight] I was waiting for a gap and looking for a clear run so I had to push him a little bit earlier compared to the first time I won here on him.

“I had to take the opportunity at that moment but he wasn’t really ready. However he’s a talented horse and the pace helped me to catch the leader.”



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