Legrix's French mission

Robin Parke

TOP rider Eric Legrix leaves for France tonight to partner a Hong Kong-owned horse being aimed for November's Melbourne Cup.

Legrix, and his retaining trainer Patrick Biancone, will be at the Parisian suburban track of St Cloud on Monday where Merchant de Sable bids for his third win of the season.

Merchant de Sable is owned by Woo Po-shing who has Hong Kong Derby winner Helene Star with Biancone, and Legrix will ride him in the 3,100-metre race which will give a solid indication as to his Melbourne Cup credentials.

Said Biancone: 'The horse has won two races already this season and he has been impressive in winning.

'His trainer, Guy Henrot, is confident that the horse is good enough to go to the Melbourne Cup and Eric is going over to ride him. If he does go to the Melbourne Cup and that is definitely the aim, then Eric would be riding him there, too.' A French-trained runner would be welcomed by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) who opened up Australia's most famous race internationally two years ago when Irish raider Vintage Crop, under Mick Kinane, won it.

Merchant de Sable will be given a sound testing before a Cup mission is embarked upon because it is a costly business taking European horses to Melbourne - even though prize money for the great race is alluring.


Meanwhile, as expected, the two all-weather fixtures programmed for May 17 and 24 at Sha Tin have been transferred to the grass where they will be run on the D Course.