IT'S a big day for master handler Patrick Biancone at Sha Tin this afternoon, writes Lawrence Wadey. The Frenchman comes into the meeting with his stable starting to move up a gear and his beloved French football team having drubbed the talented Romanians 3-1 - and in Romania at that. Biancone scored with the impressive Glamorous Palace on Wednesday night and now all eyes are focused on two of his potential stable stars for the seasons ahead. Indeed Deauville and Gazebo Star who contest the day's final two events may not just be stars of Biancone's yards, they may progress to be two of the best horses trained in the territory. Deauville is well known to the racing public, having raced four times for three wins and then an excellent second to Mr Vitality in the Sha Tin Vase. Despite lacking the experience of Mr Vitality, Deauville gave the Chairman's Prize winner plenty to think about in a display which suggests today's 1,900-metre Classes One and Two handicap should be well within his scope.
It is, however, a seemingly strange distance to ask the son of Groom Dancer to race over first time out especially as he's never been beyond a mile so far. But Biancone explains that his options were limited by the lack of races available. He pointed out: 'Deauville was due to run in a mile race last week followed by an 1,800-metre event on the 28th of this month. 'But because of the weather I was unable to get a barrier trial into him and I didn't want to send him to the races too much under done.
'He's had that trial now and this is the only race there is for him for a number of weeks because the next three meetings we have are all on the all-weather.' Biancone then added: 'But I'm happy with him. He has done everything that I have asked him to do in his work. For sure he will be better after this race, but I'm hoping he will be too good for them anyway.' Gazebo Star is one of this season's headline imports, having run just 21/2 lengths fourth to the likes of Ivory's Irish and Danewin in last seasons 2,400-metre AJC Derby. The chestnut has looked every inch a racehorse in his trackwork going into this afternoon's final event and Biancone had this to say about an apparently modest performance in a trial on Tuesday. 'For me it was a normal trial. Not happy not sad. You see you must realise that I no longer ask my horses to race in these trials. Now they are part of an overall training programme.'