Legrix in surprise decision to ride Whytellyou

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 May, 1999, 12:00am

Top jockey Eric Legrix has opted not to ride brilliant Best Of The Best and will instead partner controversial Whytellyou in next week's absorbing Chairman's Prize at Sha Tin.

Although retained by French trainer Patrick Biancone, from whom he will officially split at the end of the season, Legrix was confidently expected to partner Best Of The Best, on whom he has won several quality races.

Legrix is the regular partner of Best Of The Best but trainer Wong Tang-ping last night confirmed South African Robbie Fradd for his stable star in the 1,200-metre Prize, which is the final leg of the Champion Sprint Series.

The Whytellyou ride became available when visiting Club jockey Freddie Sanchez was suspended at Happy Valley for three days on Wednesday night for careless riding.

Although the French pair are parting company, there seemed no dispute between the two yesterday over the surprise riding arrangements for the Chairman's Prize.

Biancone said: 'Eric is still my stable jockey and I asked him to ride Whytellyou. Of course, if Freddie had been available he would have ridden the horse.

'But I said to Eric that I did not want him to ride the horse if he was really unhappy doing so. It is no good to me or the owner if Eric was going to be upset about it. So I told him to think about it and come back to me with his decision. He told me this morning that he would be riding Whytellyou and that is the end of the matter for me.' Legrix, who has been six years with Biancone here, confirmed that he would be riding Whytellyou.

The gelding is at the centre of a doping sensation following his winning run in the L'Or de Martell Cup at Happy Valley last month. 'Yes, it will be a surprise to many people that I am now riding Whytellyou,' said Legrix.

'From a racing point of view, I think the horse has an excellent chance following his last win. I am not thinking about what happened after the win, the horse ran very, very well and he is in the right race with the Chairman's Prize.

'I will be disappointed if he does not run well.' Legrix added: 'I am Patrick's stable jockey and I have commitments with that agreement. If he wants me to ride, then really I should ride.

'But I am not unhappy to be riding Whytellyou. It would not be fair to say that. After this, I just hope it does turn out all right.' Long-serving trainer Wong praised Legrix for telling him early that he would not be available for Best Of The Best.

'I am very appreciative of Eric's action in telling me quickly,' said Wong.

'I talked it over with the owner and I am happy that we have been able to get Robbie Fradd for the ride.

'He is one of the best jockeys in Hong Kong and I am sure he will do a good job on Best Of The Best.

'Because Eric told me early, I was able to get a good replacement.

'I fully understand Eric's position. After all he is a stable jockey and he must ride his trainer's horses.'