'If I went all of tonight without getting it, people might start to ask me if I really wanted it. I want! I want!'
Outstanding French rider Eric Legrix finally ended a nervous week and cracked the 300-win barrier in Hong Kong as Francis Lui Kin-wai's Plenty Of Luck put himself back on the promising list.
'I have been waiting a week for this, sitting on 299 winners,' Legrix said once the result was down and he had his triple century. 'I thought I would get the win last Sunday but it didn't happen. If I went all of tonight without getting it, people might start to ask me if I really wanted it. I want! I want!'
Legrix puts his career tally at around 1,300 winners in all, but treasures the 300 Hong Kong victories, which have taken him eight years to compile.
'I first came as a club rider in 1991 and had one win in a short period riding here around Christmas,' he recalled. 'Then in 1993, I came back when Gerald Mosse broke his collarbone and Patrick Biancone asked me to come for a month. In that time, I won the Derby on Helen Star for him and after that I have been here every year. It takes a long time to win that many races in Hong Kong so I am very proud of that.'
Legrix's original short-term licence for this season has been extended to the end of June, giving him a full term yet again. 'Now I have 300 and a full season, I can make a start on the 400,' he laughed last night.
Plenty Of Luck had looked to have plenty of upside towards the end of last season when he made his debut at Sha Tin with a powerful Class Four win after racing five and six wide the entire way but had failed to live up to expectations early this term.
'I think Eric rode him very well and that is the way to ride this horse,' said Lui. 'He has to be balanced, then stride out in the straight.'
Legrix said: 'I haven't been on him before but he is a nice horse with a future. I have seen how he has been going and he has probably been a little bit close in his races. A couple of starts ago, he was caught in between horses at Sha Tin over the mile and wouldn't stretch out at all. So tonight, Francis asked me to ride him quietly, let him relax and I didn't mind if I was a little wide on him. He is a long strider and, although riding wide isn't pretty, if you want the horse to travel he needs room. Francis told me he had some problems with the horse with an illness earlier in the season and he is probably not at his very best still but he won nicely.'
Following his four wins at Sha Tin on Sunday, the Derek Cruz train kept chugging along with he and another French jockey Olivier Doleuze not having to worry about any tight photo with Arrectis Auribis last night.
Seven days before, the horse was beaten by Profit Treasure in a deceptive photo finish but there was no repeat when he put 4.5 lengths between himself and the rest in the second event.
'It just shows you, the nice guys always win in the end,' Derek Cruz laughed. 'Olivier rode him perfectly. Very patient, saved a lot of ground by going up the inside, then brought him at the right time.'
Shane Dye got full marks for timing on the heavily-backed John Size galloper My Favourite in the fourth event over 1,650 metres.
'It's just as well he was closer tonight because he didn't get there by far,' was Size's comment. 'Anyway, he did a good job and showed plenty of stamina over 1,650 metres second start. The horse is relatively inexperienced and you expect there will be some improvement there when they are lightly-raced. My Favourite wasn't exactly impressive tonight but he won and that's the pleasing thing.'
My Favourite looked a certainty beaten at Sha Tin at his first run for Size when coming from last, but was always in the first half of the field last night from a better draw.
John Moore-trained Viking Dancer appreciated a drop in the handicap to Class Five last night to score his second win over the Happy Valley 1,650 metres in the third contest.
'He was very disappointing early until he was gelded,' Moore said. 'Since then he has turned it around a bit but he still struggles until he drops into this handicap bracket around 38. There's a big difference between Class Four and Class Five and when he drops down, he is very competitive. A nice ride from Douglas Whyte certainly didn't hurt either.' Moore added that he felt the four-year-old might yet have another race in him this season.
Tony Cruz, meanwhile, increased his lead at the top of the trainers' table to five wins over David Hayes as honest Super Fast (Felix Coetzee) provided him with win number 30 for the season in the fifth event. 'I hope I have enough bullets left to keep shooting,' Cruz said.