HE'S the Charlie Chaplin of Patrick Biancone's stable. The horse with one of the ungainliest gaits imaginable. Feet splayed at 10-to-two, Helene Star comes shuffling towards his mentor and myself as we wait expectantly on the edge of Sha Tin's inside equitrack for replacement rider Eric Legrix to up the tempo in this final, crucial, eve-of-Derby gallop. Biancone is unusually distant, almost tense. His pupils narrowed in fierce concentration, his eyes running over every last detail of his Derby prospect before the work begins in earnest. ''This is the race I want to win,'' mutters the legendary French trainer, as much to himself as to me, as he moves away. Biancone wants his own space to think his Derby thoughts. But surely any horse who walks like this cannot possibly satisfy his handler's desire for glory? Then Legrix, a carbon copy of stricken stable rider Gerald Mosse, even down to the pink cap and quilted riding jacket, gently probes at Helene Star's motor. The doubts are immediately dispelled. The four-year-old son of New Zealand stallion Vice Regal has a galloping action as fluent as his slower paces are flawed. He is away and gone in an instant. All power, muscle and sleek athleticism. Biancone checks his stop-watch, clicks it back to zero and waits. Legrix takes Helene Star through the first marker. Click. Biancone consults the watch. Nothing. Through the second marker. Click. Total impassivity. Click. The gallop is over. Another check of the watch. Biancone smiles. The clock cannot lie. ''A thousand metres in one minute and one second and he didn't come off the bridle,'' announces Biancone, his purposeful stride towards Helene Star another indication that his competitive heart is set on taking the Derby. Because beneath his bonhomie, Biancone is dedicated to winning - more than 30 Group One successes from France to England to Ireland to Canada and the United States bear eloquent testimony to that. He stops only to survey another of his stable stars, Quicken Away, work in the opposite direction round the main equitrack. Legrix brings Helene Star back. They always say it is far more stressful to train than to ride. Legrix's face says it all. No tension. He's beaming. He can sense another major triumph is imminent. They exchange words - in French, of course - before Helene Star lopes off down the tunnel, back from whence he came. ''He says he thinks he's a very good horse,'' translates Biancone. ''He says the horse is very, very well in his body and in his mind. ''He's a strong horse and was perhaps a little bit too fresh but Eric thinks that the work will have done him good in that respect. It should have taken the freshness out of him. Quietened him down a bit.'' And then the $64,000 question. It is impossible not to ask even if the answer cannot be known until the question is too late. ''But Patrick, will he stay the trip?'' A pause. A smile. A shrug of those Gallic shoulders and an honest answer from a man at the pinnacle of his profession. ''I don't know.'' So what does the French trainer know? And will he tell? He continues: ''When we used to go for the big races in Europe and America, we reckoned it took three things to win. Firstly, there is the distance. Secondly, the weight and thirdly the jockey. ''To have as good a chance as possible, you need all three. It is still possible to win with two of them but with one it cannot be done. ''In the Derby we have the second and third factors. He is the best handicapped horse by 20 pounds and in Eric I have a jockey who rides exactly like Gerald. ''They were both my apprentices. They are the tools made by the same man. This is very important to all my horses over the next month or so as I have trained them to suit the way I want them to be ridden. ''Nor is it that we don't have the first factor. We just don't know. We cannot know if he will stay. We can only hope. ''So let's say we have two and a half out of three. It gives us a very good chance indeed. ''My friend, what more can I tell your readers?'' The quinella and tierce would be handy, but Biancone has already gone. There are Derbys to be won.