Cool and calm ride shows Legrix right Man for job
Race riding is not all about brute strength and raw aggression. Often it is poise and rapport that matter most, as French ace Eric Legrix hammered home in yesterday's Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup.
Legrix scored a brilliant last-gasp victory astride the Ivan Allan-trained outsider Man Of Honour (31-1), upsetting hot-pot Charming City (2.4-1) to lift the domestic Group Three mile event run at set weights.
And the winning performance drew rare praise from the Singaporean mentor: 'That was an absolutely great ride. If it wasn't for Eric, he wouldn't have won. Simple as that.
'I really wanted Eric to ride the horse because I thought he'd be perfect for him.
'He [Legrix] rides on such a long rein and has such great hands that I thought if anyone could get him to settle it was him.' And settle he did. Leaving the back straight, Legrix had engineered the perfect trail, one out and one back, from the extreme outside gate.
'I'd never ridden the horse before but Ivan told me to try to settle him and if I could he would finish strong. And he did,' a delighted Legrix said.
Man Of Honour ranged up menacingly at the furlong pole and eventually got the better of David Hayes' ever-game Charming City, who lost nothing in defeat after having little respite from his spot up on the speed.
Champion jockey Basil Marcus was philosophical in defeat: 'There was never a period where I was able to relax him. He was challenged first of all by Mighty And Gold then by Trillion Win and then Monza came around him. So it was actually a pretty good run.' Marcus was also adamant that Charming City had no trouble with the mile and could improve further.
'He's the sort of horse that when he's learned more, he will settle in abut sixth or seventh in a race,' added Marcus.
Allan completed a back-to-back double when his imposing Success Magic (4.2-1) ran out a comfortable winner for Irish ace Jimmy Quinn in the 1,000-metre, Class Three dash.
One of the biggest horses in training, Success Magic hasn't been the easiest to steer but clearly relished yesterday's straight-course task in the fifth event.
He scored by three-quarters from Eternal Start (9-1) with Projectstar (83-1) staying on promisingly for third. Reclassified griffin winner Golden Air (2.5-1) once again jumped the crossing, with jockey Whyte commenting that it had cost him a lot of momentum.
'We'll probably have to go around a bend with him now and the extra distance will help anyway,' said Whyte.
Local trainer Andy Leung Ting-wah was all smiles after his Trader Joe, blinkered for the first time, just lasted home in yesterday's final event.
Leung's improving four-year-old son of Snippets scored by a fast-diminishing head from Sun Dancer (6.7-1) with Toymark (8.4-1) getting home well for third.