Drug-scandal suspension ends trainer Biancone's HK career
Patrick Biancone, the best-known horse trainer to come to Hong Kong, was suspended for 10 months on doping charges yesterday.
The Frenchman was found guilty of breaching three rules of racing after positive drug samples were taken from two of his horses.
The suspension, which applies only to Hong Kong, followed a resumed inquiry at Jockey Club headquarters in Happy Valley which lasted three hours.
The decision in effect ends Biancone's nine-year career here. The Jockey Club said a replacement would be named.
The new trainer is virtually certain to come from Britain or Europe and will take over Biancone's stable although owners will not be required to keep their horses there.
Biancone said last night: 'I do not wish to make an emotional statement now. I do not think that is wise.
'I would like to sleep on it and later this week I will give a statement.' The samples were taken from Whytellyou, which won a Happy Valley feature race telecast to Britain, and Rickfield on April 10 and May 15 respectively.
Two years ago, Biancone was fined over the use of a prohibited substance which turned up in more than 20 of his horses.
Biancone came to Hong Kong after a glittering career abroad, including wins in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1983 and 1984.
He was denied a record-breaking hat-trick when Sagace, who won the race in 1985, was demoted following a stewards' inquiry into interference to the runner-up.
In Hong Kong, he twice won the Derby, with Helene Star in 1982 and Johan Cruyff last year as well as virtually every other major race on the calendar.
The club was receiving applications by fax from overseas trainers within hours of the news of Biancone's suspension hitting the world of racing.
Director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said a new appointment would be made 'hopefully within a month'.
Biancone has been in Hong Kong since 1990 and is married to former Miss Hong Kong Elaine Sung. They have a daughter.
As he is free to train abroad, it was suggested last night that America, rather than France, might be his destination.
Biancone declared five runners for tomorrow night's meeting at Happy Valley. They will now be taken over by acting trainer Steve S. W. Lee.