Legrix's brilliance shines through

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 April, 1999, 12:00am

IN racing, as in many games, it is vision that sets the great apart from the very good and Eric Legrix magnified that point with a breath-taking tactical ride to land the prize with On Fire (14-1) yesterday.

The Patrick Biancone-trained five-year-old had shown glimpses of potential without breaking through and he would still be a maiden today if not for the patience and guile of Legrix, who saved ground along the rails and timed his challenge to perfection to score a narrow upset win over red-hot favourite Red In Green (2.2-1).

Legrix, a regular top-five finisher in all his years in Hong Kong, has plenty on his mind these days but this was a moment of real clarity and a vintage display, ranking alongside some of his best.

His win at the city track atop Big Mac last February would come close, but backers of On Fire will rate this one even higher.

Red In Green is probably more talented than the winner and it was always going to take a modicum of luck to get the measure of the David Hayes-trained youngster. So when Red In Green landed the box seat on the back of pacemaker Born Dragon, the contest looked all but over.

Legrix, however, had other ideas. He persevered with a rails run into the straight, tracking the improving Sky Protector (18-1), who in turn had shadowed the favourite. He waited until the last instant to deliver his dash and they speared to the front and were actually holding the challengers on the line. Red In Green fought back to grab second from Sky Protector in the closest finish of the day - a head and a short-head separating the trio.

So with rumours rife of Biancone seeking a new retained rider for next season and Legrix's wife, Sheri Kong, banned from all Jockey Club premises for the duration of the ICAC's race-fixing inquiry, it was a timely filip for the gifted Frenchman. And it could all have been so different.

Biancone, in Sydney for the Easter Sales, ended with a brace but was fined $2,000 for double-booking visiting jockey Freddie Sanchez in the event. Sanchez was down to ride Popular Acclaim and was held to that horse, although Biancone had also declared him for On Fire.

Legrix was quick to step in and take the mount.

In the nightcap, Man Of Honour (5.8-1) provided the second leg of a double for Ivan Allan as Douglas Whyte took him straight to the front and was never headed.

Tim Pratt